The sounds of cellos, drums and accordion echoed throughout Karpen Hall on Feb. 6. Inside the Laurel Forum, the Asheville-based “absurdist gypsy folk funk punk”group Sirius B. let their soaring melodies fly as community and university officials lingered anxiously around a sign hidden by a giant blue cloth. A major “arts & cultural” announcement was waiting to be announced, and with its unravelling came a wave of applause and genuine enthusiasm.
Concerts on the Quad, a summer pastime UNC Asheville dropped in 2010, has made a comeback.
“The Concerts on the Quad series started in the early 1980s and it was a tradition that went on up until five years ago,” said Holly Beveridge, director of Cultural Events and Special Academic Programs at UNCA. “It really was just a great opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to create a sense of community here at UNC Asheville.”
According to the official press release the day of the announcement, the series was discontinued in 2010 due to lack of funding. Now, however, with support from both Mission Health and the Asheville Citizen-Times, the series is back with a fresh new lineup of local and regional musicians.
One of those musicians is Stephanie Morgan, who fronts local pop-noir group stephaniesĭd and will perform on the Quad July 6.
“We used to have a band called Cry-Baby where we would just rework all these jazz standards creatively,” Morgan said. “We’re going to kind of turn into Cry-Baby for the night, so I think the show’s title is ‘stephaniesĭd Performs the Great American Songbook.’”
Concerts on the Quad is a series of shows that take place each week for five weeks throughout the summer, and, according to Beveridge, are organized with the intent of exposing both UNCA students and community members to the rich musical heritage prevalent in Asheville and the South. The regional focus, Beveridge said, differentiates Concerts on the Quad from the other creative fare students ingest during the academic year.
“For the cultural events in the academic year, we’re able to bring in international-based performers that tie in with more curricular topics,” Beveridge said. “The focus of this outdoor series is lively, festive, local and regional.”
Because the event takes place in the middle of the summer, the students who will get to experience the shows will be those who either live in Asheville or happen to be there during that time.
Some students said they did not know about Concerts on the Quad or the fact that it was going to be taking place, but were excited when they heard what it was about.
“That sounds pretty cool. I would totally go see a couple concerts,” said John Elam, a freshman from Durham.
The shows will take place on June 15, 22, 29 and July 6 and 13 from 7 to 8:30 pm.
In addition to Sirius B. and stephaniesĭd, the diverse lineup features classic country group The Malpass Brothers, Native American folk and blues trio Ulali, featuring Pura Fé, and Raleigh-based bluegrass band Chatham County Line.
For musicians like Morgan, this is a chance to reconnect to the community and to different aspects of the school’s population.
“We’re friends with some of the faculty at UNCA and we used to play with them,” Morgan said. “UNCA is really close to my house and we haven’t done nearly enough with them. Connecting with students is the best.”