At the Lawrence Performs event, Lawrence definitely performed. Music groups from the Conservatory performed in several academic buildings, encompassing countless musical genres, all of which were an absolute success. Truly, President Burstein outdid himself with the festivities. The night was composed of six different venues around campus: Wriston, the library, Harper Hall, Main Hall, Steitz Hall and the Viking Room. Between performances, concert-goers could walk between venues at their leisure.
We began at Steitz Hall, where wind instruments were performing in the atrium. While a trio of winds was performing classical music when we entered, the venue quickly switched to a saxophone and recording of experimental sounds that created an interesting combination. The atrium was comfortably full with an open bar and dessert table. The first floor was filled with adults while, either incidentally or intentionally, children sat on the third floor looking down at the music. Having audience members on multiple levels created a unique atmosphere.
Next we made our way to the library lobby, where the theme was Acoustic, Bluegrass and Singer-Songwriter. While we were there, a small string orchestra came together to play a rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together” and The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” While the music was excellent, it was rather entertaining to watch a few students desperately try to continue studying in and around the lobby area. I admire their dedication and perseverance, but question why they insisted on staying on that particular floor when they looked so harangued by the noise.
Our next stop was in the lobby of Wriston, as a chamber music trio of clarinets was playing in the landing below the audience. At this point, we were disappointed to find that most of the desserts were gone, but the music echoed nicely throughout the spacious lobby and created a sophisticated atmosphere.
From there we proceeded to Main Hall, where a trombone quartet was playing just outside of Strange Commons. As we arrived, the quartet struck up “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from the Disney motion picture “Mulan.” While this venue was the coldest and had the smallest audience, the music was lively and the audience was energetic.
Our penultimate destination, Harper Hall, was devoted to classical and jazz music. When we arrived the night had advanced into a jazz quartet performance. As always, the musicians were skilled and the jazz improvisation was melodic and impressive. However, the setup was within a concert hall, forcing the audience to take seats in order to watch the music. This did not allow people to mingle, converse or eat while watching the performance. However, the music was excellent, as always, and it was unavoidable in some senses as we were in a building devoted to musical performances.
Our final destination, fitting for two seniors, was the Viking Room. If Harper Hall’s performance felt like a formal concert, the Viking Room felt like a party. Porky’s Groove Machine was on stage serving us disco hit after disco hit. My personal favorite was their rendition of “Stayin’ Alive,” which brought people from the bar to the dance floor. The Viking Room was packed with a variety of people, from students to professors. In fact, what seemed to be the majority of the board of trustees was dispersed among the crowd talking and joking with students and professors alike. The entire atmosphere was lively and immensely enjoyable.
Overall, this event was a fantastic success. While I wish I had begun my rounds earlier, which would have guaranteed me at least seven more of the white chocolate cranberry tartlets, every location had something entertaining to offer. Furthermore, the event was able to utilize the entire campus without becoming a daunting activity. If the creative and innovative nature of this extravaganza is a reflection of what our new president has in store, then I am certainly excited for his future with Lawrence.