It was a cold winter day in December of 2019 when I first stepped foot in a yet-to-be remodeled Iowa Hall. I’d finally decided to pursue the career change I’d talked about and dropped by Kirkwood to get more information about the software development program.
I entered Iowa Hall around lunch time and can still remember the vibe it gave off as a happening spot.
There was a large cafeteria where students were talking, laughing and eating or otherwise hurrying off to some class or event for which they were already late. Among all the sounds and activity though, my ears immediately focused in on one set of sounds – a musician, playing a guitar and singing, was providing background music for the lunch hour.
The newly remodeled Iowa Hall has done a great job providing a central space where students and faculty alike can meet for a hot meal, can participate in an event or can take advantage of any of the many services and special use spaces available. Throughout Iowa Hall quiet music in a variety of musical styles and genres can be heard emanating from hidden speakers and providing a coffee shop ambiance.
Still, so far, there seems to be a dearth of live music and that needs to be addressed.
The college should consider bringing more touring musicians or local musicians to campus. In February Kevin Burt, an award-winning blues musician from Coralville, performed on the Iowa Hall stage during activity hour. Kirkwood would definitely benefit from more of the same.
Also, open mic opportunities for students to perform covers or original works would have a number of benefits. Musically inclined students would have a chance to showcase their skills and overcome stage fright. For some students performing live would be an essential step towards a future career as a professional musician. For others, it could just be a chance for artistic expression. For listeners, performances could serve as anything from lunchtime ambiance, to a break from class work, to an opportunity to meet other people with musical inclinations.
The ideal spot for these performances, particularly open mic events, would be the stage in the Iowa Hall cafeteria. But there could be opportunities for bigger name bands to perform elsewhere on campus where there is more space. Also, there is no reason to limit performance times by students or non-students to activity hour, a time when many student clubs meet. Anytime is a good time for live music.
As a part time student now in my seventh and final semester at Kirkwood I’ve been able to experience the vibe of the “old” Iowa Hall, had to trudge the long way around during the remodeling process and have been able to enjoy the “new” Iowa Hall. I’ve learned a lot and met a lot of cool people.
I’m very grateful to the professors and advisors who’ve helped me on my journey through Kirkwood. But as I leave, I’d like to make one small suggestion. Live music. We need more live music.
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