33°F & Clear 7 day forecast Sunday, December 21, 2014

Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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Spotlight Productions ushers in summer with Spring Concert

As the frigid wind chills have faded to a brisk breeze, the thoughts of warm summer days emerge in the minds of Grand Valley State University students each time the sun makes an appearance. Its rays resonate more than the freedom of summer; they also turn the musical dial to a country tune.

“Historically so, and in the past few years, country music has really embraced this sort of celebratory vibe, and summertime is one of the biggest things in country music. So summer and all that it represents runs through a lot of music,” said country musician Sam Hunt. “Country music can be a really good backdrop for it (summer), or it can promote summer activities. Overall, I think it is just a fun-loving genre that embraces summertime.”

This is the second year that GVSU’s Spotlight Productions has booked country artists for the spring concert, which takes place Thursday. Once the student body voted on the genre, Spotlight contacted a Concertideas.com representative to shuffle through the options. With the hit “Whatever She’s Got” reverberating from many radio stations around the area, David Nail fit the bill.

“Last year at the end of the school year, we took a poll of the students about what type of music genre they would like to see,” said Executive Vice President of Spotlight Productions Zachary Morford. “Country was one of the most popular genres, so we decided to go on the route of country. David Nail has a really big hit on the radio, so we (figured) he would be a good fit for our school.”

The up-and-coming artists The Henningsens and Hunt, currently touring with Nail, create a country trifecta for the concert.

“I listened to a lot of these artists before I moved to Nashville,” Hunt said. “To be in a place now in my career that I am able to share some of the same shows and play with these guys and open up for these guys is really cool.”

He said students will not experience the stereotypical strums of country music but a melting pot of hip-hop beats, lyrics of the south and new-age baseline. Fans have said that Nail, Hunt and The Henningsens all step outside the limits set by the music industry.

“What makes it country (music) for the most part is the fact that I am from the country and I grew up listening to a lot of country music. The lyrics tell stories and they are more (traditionally) country, but the musical elements aren’t so much,” Hunt said. “I am from the country, and that is what put me in the country genre, but I really don’t have any issues with not sticking to one genre.”

For those who bought pre-sale tickets, the Fieldhouse doors open at 7 p.m. The day-of tickets are for sale at the 20/20 Information Desk or StarTickets.com for $15 for students, $15 for faculty, staff and alumni, and $25 for the general public. The security for the event prohibits outside food, drinks and containers, tobacco products, cameras and recording devices, illegal drugs, backpacks and large bags, and weapons. Those not complying with the regulations will be denied access to the event or asked to leave.

Morford expects the concert to be a positive launch into summer.

“Country music becomes a very popular genre in the summertime, and because the concert is at the end of the school year, it’s kind of kicking off into summer,” Morford said. “It will be a great way to get them into the summer spirit, get them excited to be done with the school year, and a great way to get them to relieve some stress before finals.”



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