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Town Hall ushers independent, Motown musicians to MSC reopening

Published: Friday, August 31, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 01:08

Four and a half months after its dedication, the Memorial Student Center’s official reopening week will kick off on Sept. 1 to the music of Ben Rector and Mayer Hawthorne.The MSC Grand Opening concert’s first act, Ben Rector, is a singer-songwriter heavily influenced by the music of the 60s and 70s. His most recent album, “Something Like This” became the number one album of the Singer/Songwriter genre after its release in 2011. Shortly following, it claimed the number four spot on iTunes’ overall album charts, bested only by Lady Antebellum, Coldplay and Adele.

“We’re pretty excited about Ben Rector,” said Erin Ginsberg, junior business marketing major and MSC Town Hall Vice Chair. “For an independent artist, he actually has a pretty big following here. I would describe him as similar to John Mayer - he has that acoustic sound and raspy voice.”

Andrew Mayer Cohen, better known by his stage name, Mayer Hawthorne, will be headlining the concert with his signature blend of soul and modern Motown music. Based in Los Angeles, Cohen acts as a music producer, audio engineer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. In the past, he has made appearances on Jay Leno and Conan O’Brian, and his music has been featured in various TV shows.

“My favorite thing about [Mayer Hawthorne] is that there really is no one like him out there right now,” said Valery Owen, class of 2011 and former MSC Town Hall Vice Chair. “He’s incredibly talented and is a sure-fire hit, especially for people who like a hint of nostalgia.”

MSC Town Hall’s ability to bring artists of such popularity to campus promises further, bigger opportunities in the future.

“It’s a pretty great opportunity for MSC Town Hall to have such a large act,” Ginsberg said. “If the show is a success, which it should be, we can expect to have more great artists like this in the future.”

MSC Town Hall is a primarily student run organization dedicated to bringing musical acts to campus. Members are responsible for everything involved in the concerts from start to finish. Students from all disciplines work together to book the artists, create advertisements, market the shows and even set up the sound equipment.

“We set up and take down the whole show,” said Stephanie Shangal, senior education major and MSC Town Hall chair. “We get to interact with the artists. We do everything.”

The process of bringing Ben Rector and Mayer Hawthorne to A&M began last year when MSC Town Hall was presented with an opportunity to organize an MSC Grand Opening Concert.

“After doing multiple surveys last year, I worked with our advisor, Dave Salmon, to contact agents and price out bands,” Owen said. “This was a several month process, simply due to the nature of the business. We sent lots of emails and made lots of phone calls until we finally decided Ben Rector and Mayer Hawthorne would be a great show for Texas A&M.”

MSC Town Hall organizes on-campus concerts year round, most of which are free to students. This year, because of the MSC’s reopening, concerts are expected to be more centered around the MSC and Rudder Fountain area.

The MSC Grand Opening concert will begin Sept. 1 at 7pm in Rudder Auditorium. The doors open at 5:30pm and students are strongly encouraged to arrive beforehand. Tickets are free and available at the MSC box office with student IDs.

“I’m excited to see Rudder packed,” Shangal said. “Ben Rector and Mayer Hawthorne are very different but so great. I feel bad for people who can’t go.”


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