Impromptu concerts given new regulations

The creation of new protocol to better accommodate the scheduling of spontaneous performances on campus is underway less than a week after two a cappella groups were asked on different occasions to not spontaneously sing on the first floor of the Mary Graydon Center.

Members of the University Center, Student Activities, Student Government and a cappella groups met Wednesday to discuss a future resolution that would allow for impromptu performances of a cappella and other music and art groups to occur smoothly in AU buildings and spaces, according to John Cipriani, a class of 2009 senator and member of the all-male a cappella group On A Sensual Note.

"I don't have a final outcome yet, but we are looking to develop some type of template for these things to happen," said Michael Elmore, senior director of the University Center.

The meeting was held two days after the Undergraduate Senate unanimously passed a resolution that gave support for music and art groups to perform on campus, according to Cipriani.

The resolution was prompted after On A Sensual Note was asked to stop its spontaneous performance in MGC last Thursday. The spontaneous singing is something the group has been doing for four years without any problems, Cipriani said.

It was not the singing, but the location of the performance of the 11-member a cappella group that resulted in the University Center and Student Activities staff requesting it to stop singing, according to Elmore.

"It was not an issue of whether or not they could be there," Elmore said. "They were asked to stop in the location that they were because they had not asked for permission to be there, [and] because when a crowd gathered, it was too big and people could not get through."

In addition, the performance caused a disruption to meetings scheduled on the second floor of Mary Graydon Center, Karen Gerlach, director of Student Activities, said in an e-mail.

"It is not our intent to not allow these types of performances and events," Gerlach said in the e-mail. "The University Center operation staff have no choice but to protect the access to the building as a whole."

On Monday, Treble in Paradise, the all-female a cappella group, asked a ranking desk official at the information kiosk on the first floor of Mary Graydon where it could perform and was told it was not allowed to sing in the building, according to Stephanie Laporte, a senior in the School of International Service and College of Arts and Sciences and a member of Treble in Paradise.

Since the group's formation in 2003, the group has performed there every year, Laporte said.

A temporary solution for this problem is for groups to go through Elmore and Kimberly Herrera, the Student Activities adviser for OASN and Treble in Paradise, to determine spaces and times where spontaneous singing events can be held, according to Cipriani.

A more long-term solution to this problem could be the future use of the third floor of Mary Graydon for these types of activities after the School of Communication moves to McKinley, a decision that would ultimately fall to the university project team, Elmore said.

Some AU students said they do understand the regulations and the requests from AU authority to halt the spontaneous performances.

"I think it is legitimate for them to be asked to stop performing," said Adi Foksheneanu, a senior in SIS. "A lot of people come here [to MGC] to study and do work, especially at specific times of the day. There are a lot of people coming through, and it is disturbing."

It is necessary to follow and maintain the rules of AU, even though the music can be enjoyable, said Hannah Hanson, a junior in SIS.

"There are a lot of codes and regulations at AU," Hanson said. "It is probably just easier if people did work with the University Center, but at the same time, it should not detract from their presence on campus because I think a lot of people do enjoy them"

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