Last Friday, while Old Kenyon was lit up in purple to test for the Illumination, nearby Peirce Pub was awash with the blues.
In celebration of President Sean Decatur’s Inauguration, the Peer Counselors and the Middle East Students Association joined together to put on their second Blues Festival in the Pub. Unlike the first iteration of the festival last winter, this event was not marred by a campus-wide blackout.
The event featured 240 slices of pie purchased from Peggy Sue’s Steaks and Ribs in nearby Newcastle and a soothing set of blues, folk and rock music kicked off by Professor of Sociology Howard Sacks and his wife, Affiliated Scholar in American Studies Judy Sacks, who peppered their set with deadpan banter.
One highlight from the Sacks’ set was an instrumental piece of Jewish synagogue music from the turn of the 19th century.
Next, Professor of Religious Studies Vernon Schubel took the stage, joined after a self-penned song and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by his young son Mehmet Ali on percussion. Their set was more rock-oriented. Interestingly, Schubel changed several of the words to “Hallelujah” in his rendition, and it was unclear whether this was an artistic choice on his part or a gaffe.
Unfortunately, the mellow atmosphere of the Pub was disrupted by many audience members in the bar area talking loudly during performances.
Emma Munger ’14, Adam Reed ’15 and Professor of Music Ted Buehrer played as a trio, with Munger on the guitar, Reed on the upright bass and Buehrer with vocals and on the trumpet. Onstage, Buehrer described their songs as having a “regional approach ﾅ with a jazz flair.”
A strong point from their energetic set was the “Muskrat Ramble,” a silly and sweetly played jazz tune.
Buehrer and his trio were followed by the Handsome Devils, a folk group comprised of Professor of Anthropology David Suggs, Professor of Drama Jonathan Tazewell, Director of Counseling Services Patrick Gilligan and John Murphree ’15.
Playing a soothing set that included original and staple songs, Suggs, Tazewell and Gilligan switched up who sang with each song. Though Gilligan forgot the words to one of his own songs at first, he quickly remembered his lyrics and performed well.
After the Handsome Devils, several student bands took the stage. The duo of Ryan Mach ’14 and Hannah Beckerman ’14 pleased the crowd with their airy, folksy vibe.
The event also included a collection of donations for the Andrew Pocheter Memorial Fund, which will provide scholarships for students who study abroad or intern in the Middle East.
Taylor Scult ’15, a member of MESA, is in charge of facilitating the implementation of donation boxes around campus for the Fund and was present at the event.
“I really love having benefit nights such as the [Village Inn] concert and the Falls Blues Concert that raise awareness about the fund and provide a venue for donation ﾅ Kristen Prevost [’15] approached Max [Dugan ’14, president of MESA] and then me about MESA’s involvement with the concert,” Scult said. “I can imagine that MESA felt that an event such as the Blues Night, that is relaxed, informal, inclusive, fun [and] soulful [plus] delicious pies aligns with Andrew’s personality. Thus, it felt appropriate to raise awareness about the fund and spread his passion for global mindfulness at a venue he himself would have loved to attend.”