The University decided late last week not to offer a headlining musical performance as part of this year’s Colonials Weekend, said Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services.
For the past three years, the University has booked both a high-profile comedic act and musical act as main events during Colonials Weekend. World-famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld will perform at this year’s Colonials Weekend – an annual event for family and alumni that will take place October 20th through 22nd.
“It is not that we chose not to have a musical act,” Chernak said. “It is easier to find a comedian with intergenerational appeal than it is to find a musical act.”
He added that some musical acts the University pursued for Colonials Weekend include Journey, Rascal Flatts, Maroon 5 and Willie Nelson. A survey conducted by the University over the summer showed arena-rock band Journey as the musical act students most wanted to perform, he said.
In addition to intergenerational appeal, other issues associated with booking a musical act for Colonials Weekend included scheduling and pricing, Chernak said.
“Unless we could find someone who met the expectations of Colonials Weekend, we did not want to book a musical act,” Chernak said.
Recent musical acts for Colonials Weekend have included the Boston Pops, the Beach Boys and Patti LaBelle.
Although there may not be a main event for students, parents and alumni scheduled for Saturday, there will be a variety of smaller events and alumni receptions taking place.
“We are excited to have Jerry Seinfeld on Friday night as well as many other University events that make the most of our location, as well as student and student organization talent,” said Peter Konwerski, assistant vice president of Student and Academic Support Services.
“Jerry Seinfeld is truly America’s premier comedy act, and from our research, including looking at feedback and data on the contemporary student and parent demographics, he is seen as the quintessential comedy performer of this era,” he said.
While he said he has not received any negative feedback from parents, students or alumni about not booking a musical act, Konwerski said he understands people may have grown accustomed to having both a comedic and musical performance.
Director of Parent Services Rodney Johnson said he expects parents and students will have dinner in the city and return to campus to see some student performances and free programming Saturday night.
“Believe it or not, I have had parents say ‘we want a night to take our kid out to dinner,'” Johnson said.
One of Saturday evening’s events will be a dessert, coffee and jazz reception in Kogan Plaza, Johnson said. He added the University has not yet decided if the jazz musicians will be students or hired professionals.
Another Saturday evening event is the Cabaret Showcase, a performance where students, faculty, staff and alumni display their singing, dancing, musical or poetic talents for audience members.
“This event is done very professionally,” Johnson said.
Alumni receptions and five- to 50-year reunions will also take place Saturday evening, said Scott Mory, assistant vice president for Advancement, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving.