IU Soul Revue is busy these days.
The ensemble, which is comprised of student vocalists and instrumentalists, will perform its spring concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Buskirk Chumley Theater. Following the performance, the group will take a four-day trip to Los Angeles.
The Saturday concert is the group’s end-of-the-year performance. The show, which has a set list of 26 songs, comprised of new and old R&B, soul, funk and contemporary Black popular music songs.
The group recently added around 10 new songs to their previous set list, including songs from modern artists such as Childish Gambino and Khalid.
“The reason why we did that is because it is what we call a revue,” said James Strong, director of IU Soul Revue. “That will be the culmination of the revue itself, from the old into the new.”
IU freshman Wynton Gage will be performing one of the new songs, “Location” by Khalid.
Being his first solo in the group, Gage said his main goal is to put on a good show for the crowd and show how much effort he has put into the performance for the past semester.
“My family is driving like four hours to come see me, so I really just want to make them proud," said Gage, whose hometown is Springfield, Illinois. “I really want them to see the hard work I have done.”
Strong said for the performance he hopes a large crowd shows up to support the arts.
“I am so proud of my students,” Strong said. “I want everyone to come out and see them perform and see all the sweat that they put in to making the performance be stellar.”
Strong, who was a member of IU Soul Revue when he attended IU, also said he hopes some people are encouraged to join the group after attending the show.
After a short break, the group will travel to Los Angeles.
During the trip, which will take place from April 15 to 18, they will tour professional recording studios, meet professionals from the music industry and perform at the Spaghettini, a restaurant and jazz club.
Strong, a 30-year veteran of the music industry, spent time as a professional working in LA. Now, he said he’s using the connections he made there to benefit IU Soul Revue.
“I am able to leverage a lot of my experience and a lot of my connections to make these things happen for the students,” Strong said. “I am so thrilled and I am so happy to be able to do that, I mean because, this is what the program has done for me.”
Strong also said the goal of the trip is to give the students an educational view of what the professional side of the music business has to offer.
One of the studios the students will visit is Kenneth "Babyface" Edmond’s recording studio. The R&B artist received an honorary doctorate degree from IU during a visit to campus last semester. He was so impressed by an IU Soul Revue performance he extended the invitation to tour his studio.
The group will also visit Studio Instrument Rentals, an audio, rehearsal and production support service has served many big names in music such as Lionel Richie and David Bowie.
The show at Spaghettini will be similar to their Saturday performance, with possible minor adjustments to the choreography for the venue’s space. The student performers will also be accompanied by Grammy winning R&B singer and songwriter Terry Steele.
Sophomore Samuel Haig said he is most excited for the group’s performance in LA.
“LA is like the performing and recording capital of the world, so it’s just really exciting to get an opportunity to play and show what we got to people who live among the best musicians in the world,” Haig said.
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