IU Soul Revue will perform pieces from the '70s, '80s, '90s and current music in its annual spring concert this weekend. The group performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
The group is comprised of not only singers, but also a rhythm section, tech department, marketing and wardrobe.
Soul Revue experiences all aspects of the performance arts program, Soul Revue Director James Strong said.
When preparing, Strong said they have to keep in mind the audience they’re performing for and who they want to attract. For instance, the variety of song choices should appeal both young and old audiences.
Strong said audiences can expect excitement, great songs, tight arrangements and great looks from the performance Saturday.
This is Strong’s first year as director of Soul Revue. He attended IU and was a member of Soul Revue before pursuing his career in the music industry, performing and being the musical director for musicians like LL Cool J.
In previous years, the group has had directors that were phenomenally talented, Strong said. They left the bar high with integrity and respect.
“When they left, they left something for me to reach for,” Strong said.
He said at the time the job was offered to him, he was in a good place to share what he’s learned. He said if he hadn’t come to IU, he didn't think he would find success in the industry like he did.
He said he was able to use his education while pursuing his art. Drawing from his experiences while starting out in the music industry, Strong said he wants students to learn the importance of the connection between arts and education.
“I realized that arts and education, you know, were very, very important to each other,” he said. “It’s the difference between a starving musician and someone who’s not starving.”
Dexter Clardy, a senior and singer in Soul Revue, joined the group his freshman year. He saw the group perform on a college visit. Up until then, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go to IU. However, after seeing the group perform and speaking with the director at the time, he was convinced to come.
Since joining the group, Clardy said each semester has been different.
“Every semester there’s something new to learn,” he said.
In the industry, Strong said he wants students to learn to be patient and to learn to love the process.
From Soul Revue, Strong said he wants students to understand you don’t have to be the star to be a part of a winning team. The role-player is just as important as the person you’re backing up, he said.
“If you work hard, it will pay off,” Strong said.
Clardy said being in Soul Revue has taught him how to realize how talented he is. The group has taught him how to be a friend and how to be honest with each other and yourself. The group, he said, helps you learn where you fit in as a member and appreciate what everyone brings to the table.
In the group, you have to perform in front of others, some you know, and some you may not know, Clardy said. Artists, especially newer ones, tend to doubt themselves.
“Doing music is a vulnerable thing,” he said.
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