On Monday night, March 27, live music drew a crowd to the University Center. Samford students and faculty alike stopped by Harry’s Coffeehouse to enjoy a student-led concert named “One Night Only,” performed and organized entirely by commercial music majors.
Samford’s School of the Arts’ commercial music program was founded and developed three years ago by seasoned professional Steven Potaczek. It has since offered students exceptional opportunities to discover their potential as creative careerists in the music industry, with available concentrations in business, production, songwriting and performing.
“One Night Only” served as the final project for students in a course titled “Music Business Revenue Streams,” and served to give participants real-life insight into what it takes to run an entire concert. Students of all different concentrations within the commercial music major came together to make the magic happen.
“They do not just do the performing, but they do the mixing, they do the promoting, they do everything top to bottom,” Potaczek explained. “The goal [of this assignment] is really is that students would get a taste of what it takes to put on a performance, market it, to make it successful. It allows students to totally fail in a really safe environment.”
Potaczek did not oversee practices, which allowed for students to have the full experience of putting together a concert, independent of faculty.
“We can learn about event management in the classroom,” he said, “but there are so many gaps [in your experience] that don’t get filled until you do it. This is basically like Spanish class, and I am dropping students in the middle of Mexico.”
Freshman commercial music major Wilks Chittom was able to speak to his experience with the project as a guitarist and being part of the setup crew.
“We rehearsed and had meetings for a month leading up to the performance,” he said. “It was a lot of work, but easily the most fun class project. Monday exceeded my expectations, and I felt so united with my classmates.”
The night’s program started at 7 p.m. and featured both original songs and covers, seamlessly rotating performers throughout the set so that a large number of participants were able to show off their talents as vocalists, drummers, guitarists, bassists and keyboardists.
Students covered famous tracks, such as “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood and “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore. Writers, some of whom have already released their music to streaming platforms, performed outstanding original pieces, including “Road Trip,” “The Ring,” “October” and “Seeing Red” to name just a few.
Rachel Summers, a freshman with a performance concentration, was able to perform her original song “Best Friend,” as well as several other covers and original pieces by her peers.
“It was all really rewarding in the end,” Summers said. “At first, I didn’t know how well it was going to go, because we had so many songs we were trying to accomplish… [there were] so many moving parts, and different people on drums, different singers, different background vocals, different guitar players… One cool part of the night was when my friend Kacie Bell sang “Ain’t It Fun…” she just got the crowd really involved… I feel like that was a highlight of our whole show.”