Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Go to random performances on campus

I recently did something surprisingly rare among students of the Jacobs School of Music. I went to a stranger’s recital.

I happened to have a free evening. I had homework to get done, but nothing that would take all night. So I went to the event calendar of the Jacobs School, found the recital of a random master’s student in composition and went.

I had a great time. The music was surprising and inventive, and the performers handled it very skillfully.

I ended up feeling regretful over the fact that I had never once done that before. I had been to plenty of recitals, but only ones by my friends and classmates.

The Jacobs School offers over 1,100 performances a year. They occur every day of the week. They start early in every semester and continue through finals week. Even the summer session is jam-packed with performances.

These range from recitals by featured soloists to orchestral concerts and fully-staged operas. The vast majority of performances, including virtually all recitals, are free. For ones that do cost money, there are usually reasonable prices for student tickets.

This means that on just about any day throughout the entire year, you can just go on the Jacobs School website and find a free concert to attend. The Jacobs School is a high-quality institution, so odds are that the music will be played thoughtfully and masterfully.

It’s true that most of these performances are of classical music, and maybe that isn’t your taste. But it’s not all classical. Try going to a jazz performance; you might be surprised by what you hear. Check out Afro-Cuban Ensemble, Soul Revue, the Singing Hoosiers or African-American Choral Ensemble.

It doesn’t end at the Jacobs School. Music may be the most common type of performance at IU, but it’s only one of many types.

The Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance has a mainstage season that includes two musicals, two dance concerts and at least six plays during each academic year, plus two more musicals and two more plays every summer. 

On top of that, students of the theater department stage independent productions in the theater building throughout the year. These are always free, and you can find out when they’re happening by visiting the theater building and looking at what’s being advertised on the cork boards.

Plenty of performances aren’t even associated with any academic department. There are six comedy groups at IU that frequently present free performances of improv and sketch comedy.

Going to performances isn’t just about supporting your friends. It shouldn’t be an obligation. It’s something most IU students rarely do, if ever, even if they find it rewarding.

Next time you have a free evening or weekend afternoon, or any opportunity to take a break from school- and work-related responsibilities, go to a random performance. I doubt you’ll regret it.

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