The inaugural May 8 event at the university’s Covenant Fine Arts Center comes after a student committee pored through applications from 64 West Michigan bands. Watch videos by the acts they chose.
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After sifting through applications by 64 West Michigan artists, Calvin University has selected Last Gasp Collective, Mxrcus Alexis and Fiona Dickinson to play its first-ever “Local Showcase” on May 8.
Showcase artists were selected by students on the Calvin Student Advisory Board who spent hours listening to music from those who submitted entries to Opnr.com or watching videos to narrow the field of finalists before choosing the top three performers.
“To make things more difficult for our team, we were overwhelmed with how great some of these artists were and the task of narrowing 64 down to 3,” said Jack Droppers, Calvin’s student activities director.
“Each artist brings something different sonically and stylistically that we are very excited about, but three of the key differentiators for each of these artists is their thoughtfulness, creativity and innovation.”
Calvin restricted applicants to bands and solo artists who reside within 50 miles of Grand Rapids.
Award-winning Kalamazoo hip hop and R&B ensemble Last Gasp Collective, Grand Rapids hip hop/pop artist Mxrcus Alexis and Grand Rapids “dark folk” singer-songwriter Fiona Dickinson will play Calvin’s Covenant Fine Arts Center at 8 p.m. May 8. Tickets are $10 and go on sale at Calvin on March 20.
The inaugural showcase event will include a conversation between the artists and the audience after the show.
“We wanted to organize this showcase as a way to connect to the wonderful things already happening within the West Michigan music scene,” said Droppers, a Grand Rapids musician who took over the Student Activities Office in January after longtime director Ken Heffner retired.
“After some investigation, we not only were reminded of the wonderful artists my students and I knew, but also many more wonderful artists I had never heard of.”
The event will take place despite concerns about the current coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Like most Michigan educational institutions, Calvin has moved to online classes and banned large gatherings for the next month, but “the campus should be back to normal come mid-April,” Droppers said.
“If COVID-19 continues to spread,” he added, “we will continue to go along with state, local and campus recommendations for all campus events.”
VIDEO: Last Gasp Collective, “Motherland”
VIDEO: Mxrcus Alexis, “Heartthrob”
VIDEO: Fiona Dickinson, “Buy It in Bottle”
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