UC Merced may not have a music program yet, but that doesn’t mean that students still can’t rock out.
The Mainzer Theater shut its doors to the public on Halloween weekend for a special students-only concert. The night featured live music by popular local bands The Illustrators, Destructo Bunny, El Olio Wolof and the Jabronskis
The bands brought out biological sciences major Ben St. Clair and his friends. Self described band geeks, they were hoping to catch what type of sound was in Merced and make a few new friends who shared their love of music.
We thought this would be a good medium for us to start coming together and talking about music and maybe even playing together, said psychology major Elliott Kalein, who also plays the drums.
The concert was co-sponsored by the Office of Student Life and Vanguard, the student engineering club. Student Life coordinator Enrique Guzman wanted to create partnerships with the other clubs on campus, and with a little student input, he thought live music would draw the students out.
We also wanted to give students a little breather from midterms and create new friendships, said Guzman.
Brenda Farley, owner and manager of the Mainzer, was more than happy to help. She handpicked the bands from different genres that are popular with her regular audiences. She didn’t have to coerce them to play, she said.
I thought this would be a good opportunity for the students to listen to what other Merced kids do, said Farley. Hopefully they will see that there are 18-and-older venues around here where they can come and get together.
Besides live music, the night also featured screenings of the movies Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Ocean’s 11, with refreshments provided by Costco.
It seems like the band members had as much fun as the students, reminiscing about their college days. Even though Brian Strong of El Olio Wolof graduated from college a few years ago he came early and took advantage of the night’s activities before taking the stage to play.
If there was a night like this back when I was in school, I would have gone, he said.