Behind the music: SEC explains selection process for fall concert

By Katie Zeck

The average Rider student will think about the fall concert all of three times: when finding out who will be performing, when picking up a ticket and when attending the event. Members of the Student Entertainment Council (SEC) who organize the concert begin facing the music months before the fall semester even takes off.


Lupe Fiasco is scheduled to perform at the 2011 fall concert.

Deciding on an artist to perform in front of approximately 1,400 students at Rider’s annual fall concert is no easy task.  According to senior Tara Dalrymple, one of the special events chairs of the SEC, it is “a process.”
“We meet over the course of the summer and talk out everything,” said Dalrymple. “With Lupe [Fiasco], all the factors that needed to come into play were there. I’m very excited to see how the students react and the outcome of the concert, and I personally am very glad we picked him because I think he’ll be a great performer.”
According to Dalrymple, at the end of every academic year, the SEC conducts an online survey asking full-time undergraduate students what genres of music students prefer.
“The one we did in March of last semester showed pop and hip-hop as the most popular music types with country and alternative rock coming in with the lowest amount of votes,” Dalrymple said.
The survey results are not publicized; they are used as a guide for future programming, but do not guarantee specific programs due to factors involving available resources, cost, marketplace availability and space needs, said campus life coordinator and SEC adviser Nick Barbati.
“A ton of factors are weighed before an act can even be considered on a college campus,” Barbati said in an email.
Despite this survey, some students have raised the issue that for the past three concerts a hip-hop artist or band has performed.
Jason Mraz, classified as a pop/rock artist, appeared on the Student Recreation Center (SRC) stage in 2007 and Gym Class Heros, a hip-hop rock band, was booked for the 2008 concert. The following year, Rider presented Sean Kingston, another hip-hop artist, for the 2009 concert.
The rock band The Plain White T’s were to perform at Rider in the spring of 2009 but cancelled at the last minute due to a sudden illness of the band’s lead singer.
In 2010, hip-hop artist Jason Derulo headlined the fall concert. With Lupe Fiasco performing next month, it will have make the fourth straight year a hip-hop artist or band will performed at Rider.
In selecting Fiasco as Rider’s 2011 fall concert, the SEC considered past trends, student preference and price.
SEC president Willie Emanuele said there is a “strategy” behind the entire selection process.
“We try to stay away from too narrow a target audience when it comes to the concert as a whole. That’s why we added the Smash Brothers, a group classified in the club/rock genre, as the opening act for Jason Derulo last year; it allowed for a broader range of music for the audience to enjoy.”
The special events chairs who organize and plan the majority of the aspects of the concert also look at which artists are gaining momentum or just coming off their peak of fame when deciding on a performer.
“It’s looking at a name everybody knows and music everyone likes and matching that up with our budget, time frame and the artist’s availability,” Dalrymple said.
The SEC also keeps in mind the success of past years’ concerts.
“Every ticket was picked up from the ticket booth and used for the Kingston and Derulo concerts, so we knew that genre worked and students were receptive,” Dalrymple said.
The cost of the performance, though an important factor, does not play as large a role as might be expected, according to Emanuele.
“Pricing is not the first issue we address — not to say we are careless in our budget, but there’s a smart way to go about it,” he said. “If that’s all you’re looking at, you really won’t get the student satisfaction and enjoyment that we’re looking for.”
The SEC pays for the concert through a budget provided by the Student Government Association (SGA).
“SGA receives the money collected from the student activities fee and then divides that money among all the sub-organizations,” Emanuele said.
According to the Bursar’s Office, the student activities fee is a mandatory $125 per semester fee that only full-time students pay as a part of their tuition.
From the portion it receives, the SEC is able to fund the special events it hosts. Emanuele and Dalrymple were unable to provide the exact amount of money the SGA supplies the SEC and would not disclose the amount of money alloted for the fall concert from the total SEC budget.
Some students said they were excited about the upcoming concert.
“I’m so pumped for the Lupe concert,” said freshman Adam Dukoff. “I’ve listened to his album at least a dozen times.”
Students who responded to The Rider News Facebook page were less enthusiastic about this year’s concert choice.
“As much as Lupe is enjoyable, changing up the genre would’ve been cool too,” read a comment from sophomore Mike Silverman. “You have to give all different tastes a chance.”

Tickets for the 2011 Fall Concert will be available in the SRC Atrium Monday, Oct. 31, and Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 11a.m.- 1p.m. and from 3p.m.-6p.m.

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