Ithaca College’s Bureau of Concerts held its first open public forum in an effort to increase student involvement in the selection of musicians it brings in to perform on campus.
In the past, BOC has opened up a survey to the student body to generate a consensus on which artist it should bring in for the big spring show. However, the process of determining what artists make it onto the survey in the first place has been left up to the members of the executive board, which junior Lisa Laffend, executive director of BOC, said is part of the reason they wanted to hold the public forum.
“The artists that end up on that survey have completely been artists that we as a group have come up with, and we would really like to change that and have it start with the student body,” Laffend said.
Laffend opened the Sept. 30 forum with an introduction of the executive board members and an overview of what the organization is about. As declared in its mission statement, BOC functions to bring outside musicians to the college to perform, as well as promote the talents of the students on campus.
Laffend asked the estimated 10 students at the forum to contribute ideas for what genres of music and specific artists they would like to see perform at the college, as well as ways to better reach the student body about upcoming shows and events. About half of the students contributed to the discussion, mainly looking for more diverse artists to perform.
Decades ago, BOC brought in some artists that are widely recognized today. According to BOC’s historians, The Beach Boys came to the college in the 1960s, and The Roots came in the early 2000s.
Senior Delaney DuBois, ticket sales team member, said at the time that some of these musicians performed at the college, they were still on the rise and had not reached their current level of notoriety. The Beach Boys had just earned their first No. 1 hit with “I Get Around” in 1964, and The Roots weren’t the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” until 2009.
Also, BOC used to invest its entire budget on one big show every year, Laffend said.
Kyle Stewart, Student Government Association vice president of communications, said BOC has a budget of $40,000 a year.
In an effort to appeal to more students through offering a greater variety of artists, BOC now aims to put on four small- to medium-sized shows throughout the school year, plus a show at IC Kicks Back, an annual end-of-the-year celebration for students at the college.
Several students at the forum, including sophomore Chelsea Rance, said they would like to see BOC further diversify the genres of artists it brings to campus.
“I feel like right now the only people that really know about the BOC are the people that are more into indie and alternative music,” Rance said.
Rance suggested BOC reach out to other student organizations on campus to facilitate better communication with the entire student body.
“It could be through talking to the presidents of all kinds of clubs that work with students, whether it’s PRISM or one of the [African, Latino, Asian and Native American] groups. Just getting people to spread the word more I think could go far,” Rance said.
BOC has previously worked with other student organizations on campus, like the Student Activities Board, to combine budgets and put on bigger shows, including the most recent collaboration in January 2015 to bring hip-hop artist Jeremih.
The first show of this year was Cloud Nothings, held Sept. 18, and the next will be a student showcase Oct. 30, which is free to students.
Laffend said BOC is looking forward to getting more student input for this year’s big spring show and encourages students to contact the organization with any genre or artist ideas.