CRU brings BandJam to life

Stacy Kessreporter and Stacy Kessreporter

It was a typical sunny Friday afternoon on the lawn behind Saddlemire: Frisbees glided through the air, friends chatted with each other about the week and excitement brewed for the weekend.

But that’s where the typical Friday ended.

On a make-shift stage just behind Saddlemire, five local bands spread their music as part of BandJam 2003.

A sort of “battle of the bands,” BandJam 2003 was a the brain-child of Josh Coy and Michael Brown, directors of CRU, a Christian-based campus organization. The idea was this: Bring together music, food and students in a relaxed setting to help promote local bands.

“Last spring, we were just brain-storming a way that CRU could get involved in campus more,” Coy said.

“Music is such an important part of CRU,” Brown said.

But both were quick to separate the organization from the event. “It’s not about CRU; Tonight is about being a part of the community,” Brown said, adding the group was more of a sponsor than a focal point of the event.

Coy agreed that the night was not about promoting or recruiting for CRU. “I think it’s cool for the students to finally have an event without an agenda.”

While local bands The Rubber Band, Juffage, Yesterday’s Flight, Woodville and Sol Rise played, students munched on free hot dogs and sipped sodas, provided by PepsiCo. The bands — ranging in style from “jam band” to hard rock — played from 4 p.m. until dark. For added entertainment, henna tattoo artist Jen Schafer from Extreme Tattoos on main street offered $5 tattoos.

Juffage, freshman Jeff T. Smith’s one-man band, said he found a flyer about BandJam and decided to try out his unique sound on the crowd.

Headliner Sol Rise was a little more connected. Sol Rise, who has played at CRU meetings for about a year joined the festivities thanks to their friends in the organization, said graduate student Terence Armentano, a guitarist and vocalist for the band.

“I thought it was a really good thing for the campus to see people coming out from the different dorms to hear local bands,” he said. Freshman Maresa McNeill was one of those students.

With her mom in town from Detroit for her 19th birthday and her two best friends in tow, she stopped by to find out what was the source of the music wafting into her dorm room window.

And it turned out it was exactly what she wanted to do on her birthday, she said.

“I just wanted to enjoy myself and my friends,” McNeill said, sitting as still as she could while Schafer applied a henna tattoo. “You don’t have to get dressed up — just come here and sit in the grass.”

That’s what Coy and Brown had hoped for — students enjoying themselves.

“I’m having a blast. Students are having a blast,” Brown said. “BG BandJam: This is just the beginning. Stay tuned.”