The Carlsen Center presented their concert series ‘Light Up the Lawn’ outside of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art this August.
According to Emily Behrman, general manager, Performing Arts, the concerts give those in the local community a reason to interact with the college.
“Our series, and these lawn shows included, are about community engagement. If people don’t have a child that goes here, or they don’t take classes themselves; we want to make sure that the college still has a relevant place in their lives and they have a positive experience by coming to campus and coming to an event,” Behrman said.
Community engagement, like the lawn concerts, benefits the college.
“In some cases, someone may be here for an event and they realize that we have a railroad program or a culinary program or they can get a real estate certificate. It introduces people [to] the wider array of things that happen on campus,” said Behrman.
Many students see the advertisements for the lawn concerts around campus but have not yet gone.
“I’ve been wanting to go, I’ve seen the ads but haven’t been yet,” said Darren Duttere, student.
Most attendees are Overland Park residents or fans that follow the bands.
“I would say a lot of the people that attend [the lawn concerts] are neighbors and they’re somewhere in a three-mile radius of the college and depending on the band—we always have people attend that know the band … and we also have some students that attend,” said Behrman.
Behrman books the bands for the lawn concerts, and the bands mostly come from the Kansas City area.
“I do [the booking], and usually it’s after talking to some of our staff people who are younger than me and attend a lot more things around town,” Behrman said. “There are so many great bands around Kansas City, we have so many to choose from.”
“We try not to repeat [bands] from one year to the next. We are always looking for input from the community and the students as well [on who to book],” Behrman said.
For Behrman’s staff, the lawn concerts create an opportunity to express their creativity and to work outside.
“It’s really fun for us to be outdoors,” Behrman said. “Our crew works inside all year long and [the lawn concerts] give them an opportunity to get a little more creative by doing the projections on the front of the Nerman. That’s something they have worked on over time and they’ve really got it down.”
Although the lawn concerts for the summer end in August, Behrman welcomed student input for future concerts.
“We don’t have student involvement in the planning of these shows but that isn’t to say we wouldn’t welcome it,” Behrman said. “We probably consult with students in the winter six months prior to the shows. If students are interested they can always come and meet with me and give me suggestions or shoot me an email and tell me what they’ve heard or what they like.”
According to the CC events website the ‘Light Up the Lawn’ concert series will culminate Today, Friday, Aug. 31st around 8:30 p.m., with the band Trio Aztlan. They have been performing in the Kansas City Mexican/Latino music scene since 1992.