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Concert Committee Aims For Big Bands

By Phoebe Kosman, Crimson Staff Writer

A revamped Harvard Concert Commission (HCC) held its first general meeting Tuesday night to prepare for bringing a new round of bands to campus venues this year.

The meeting was the first the year-old HCC has held since HCC Chair and Undergraduate Council Vice President Sujean S. Lee ’03 reorganized the body and helped author a constitution.

Lee said the HCC, a division of the council, now accepts its 50 members by application, and the process is open to all undergraduates.

Previously, Lee said, the HCC was “less organized” and its membership was largely composed of volunteers. “From now on, it will be more permanent,” Lee said. “People will be able to say, ‘Oh, what’s the concert commission starting on?’”

In October, the HCC will bring the band Dispatch to Sanders Theatre. Lee said Dispatch concert details will become available closer to the Oct. 22 show date.

She also said that the HCC plans at least one—and perhaps two or three—more concerts over the course of the year.

The HCC will try to attract big-name bands for the year’s remaining concerts, in a departure from last spring’s Springfest, which featured cost-efficient student bands, development committee co-chair Robert R. Stavert ’03 said.

Last winter, the HCC brought the bands Roots and Black Eyed Peas to campus.

Budgetary concerns and the size of 1,000-seat Sanders Theatre may stand in the way of hosting more famous bands, Lee noted.

“We are trying to get artists of higher caliber, which would imply a higher price bracket—$15,000 to $30,000,” she said. That fee is in addition to $10,000 to $15,000 in production costs. She said that performers’ fees may be lowered by holding benefit concerts.

Funding for this year’s HCC concerts will come from the council and from proceeds from last year’s Roots concert.

Stavert said his committee was “working to get money from every possible angle,” including advertising revenue and the Harvard Business and Law Schools. “We’re trying to think big,” he said.

Last year, the College supplied the HCC with $5,000, matching the $5,000 the allocated by the council.

Associate Dean of the College David P. Illingworth ’71 called the administration’s grant “seed money.” Illingworth said yesterday that his office will work with the HCC “in terms of financial feasibility, making sure income equals expenses.”

The College will not be giving any more funds to the HCC, Illingworth said, but will instead help the commission with “logistics.”

A larger obstacle to bringing big-name bands to campus than funding may be the lack of a large on-campus venue, Lee said. Sanders Theatre’s capacity is “very small in comparison to the number of tickets we could sell,” she said, noting that tickets to last winter’s Roots concert sold out only days after they went on sale. The athletic department would have to approve use of a large-capacity venue like Bright Hockey Center, Lee said.

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