By Paula Diaz, Features Editor
Photos by Kiernan McKay
Singer-songwriter Ben Rector graced Asbury University’s Hughes Auditorium with his presence for an acoustic performance this past Monday. With around 700 total tickets sold, it’s safe to say that the Student Activities Board’s Concert Committee was more than successful.
Starting off with “When I’m With You,” the audience, made up of Asbury University and Seminary students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members, cheered with excitement as the star of the night made his appearance after alumnus Abe Parker’s performance.
Several members of the audience moved as close as they could to the stage and those with seats further back remained standing so as not to miss anything. Rector, with his accompanist Cody Fry, captivated the audience with interactions, keeping everyone engaged th3rough jokes, stories of being on tour, and audience involvement.
“Abe Parker was great and set the mood,” said sophomore Rebekah Steffen. “Then [hearing] Ben Rector live made me fall even more in love with his music.”
Rector, who had never heard of Asbury, admitted his doubts when driving in to Wilmore, wondering where in the world he was being taken. But after a night with everyone in the audience, he explained how genuinely excited he was to not only be on campus, but to be performing for such a great audience.
More than anything, audience involvement kept everyone on their toes, creating laughter during song transitions. Rector’s own cover for his song “Loving You is Easy” became a one-of-a-kind hit when senior Josh Kelly suggested ABC’s The Bachelor for a verse of the song. Rector took the challenge and immediately showed the audience how well he’s been keeping up with the current season of the show.
While Asbury sees several performances throughout the school year thanks to Artist Series, Rector’s performance was the first of its type as it was put together by the Student Activities Board’s Concert Committee. As the most requested performer name last year, the Concert Committee worked very hard to bring him to campus.
“It was a lot of work,” Vice President of Student Activities Meredith Anderson said. “We’ve been working on it since this summer but I’m so glad students liked it. We had a great turn out! The whole floor of Hughes was filled! Now we can look forward to all our other upcoming events.”
The event, which was led by Anderson, was ultimately as successful as it was through the hard work of Assistant Director of Student Leadership Development Heather Tyner, sophomores Tanner Record and Amantha Wagner and senior Asher Allison. Through their work and the work of numerous student volunteers who helped with set up, the event itself and tear down, the concert was a complete success.
“I feel relieved the concert is over but also still very excited because so many community members and students showed up, bridging the gap between the two,” Wagner said. “If students have any suggestions for concerts, let [the Concert Committee] know!”
So to Ben Rector, thank you for your performance and time. To the future performers to grace us with their presence in Hughes Auditorium: we’re ready.