Normally during lunchtime, students can be seen grabbing food on-the-go or sitting at a table on the MU patio in the shade with friends, laughing it up.
But on Tuesday, things were different.
A close knit group of students were gathered in the quad at noon, listening to Jesse Barrera, Alan Ladan, and Melissa Cancio, three very talented young people, perform their music.
Most of the audience was gathered at the edge of the stage that had been set up, while others hung back under the trees in the shade, studying or watching from afar with friends. I’ll admit there was no shade where we were. I had noticed some of the die-hard close-knit audience members sweating profusely, but they didn’t seem to mind. Water bottles were on hand so all was well. How far some will go to hear a good song …
Melissa Cancio began the concert with acoustic guitar renditions of three well-known songs by three well-known artists: Alicia Keys, Usher and Aaliyah. She had a sweet voice that was hard to hear from far away under the shade in the trees. But she carried musical notes well and with flair. Acoustic renditions of songs normally played on the radio to a different beat were quite interesting – it provided me with a new appreciation for a different kind of music style. It just goes to show how versatile music really can be.
Immediately following her, Jesse Barrera took to the stage – and the guitar – with his song “Tangled Up”. It had a happy tune, almost gospel-like in its melody. Assisting him on the keyboard piano was Alan, who was mouthing the words while jamming on the keys. They were so into their music the whole entire concert. It was great to see them enjoying what they were doing rather than being nervous or serious. They looked like they were comfortable in their skin and with their music abilities.
In between songs, they were very interactive with the crowd. They got me to laugh and smile a few times. They had a sense of humor and charisma that couldn’t be denied.
I especially enjoyed the introduction of a song in particular where Jesse said, “This is a song for those falling in love … or something like that.” Cute saying and even cuter song!
There was even light clapping during some of the songs. The crowd was really enjoying themselves and showing a lot of love to the performers.
After each song, there was always a good applause from the audience. It wasn’t a forced applause, but rather a kind of applause that couldn’t wait to begin.
My favorite of the concert was “Come to My Door”. It had a very nice, slow, romantic tune to it.
Soon thereafter, Alan Ladan was solo, singing and jamming on his keyboard as usual. He stopped a few times, trying to get the words and timing right. He was all smiles and laughs, like Melissa and Jesse. The crowd embraced all three, so they were quite patient with him getting adjusted at first. He mentioned at the beginning that he wrote the song a half a year ago and that it was based on a conversation he had with a lady friend of his after not seeing her for quite some time.
It was a sweet song to write about a girl. It was jazzy, kind of like funk, but with a Maroon 5-type feel. “Gypsy Girl” seemed like an appropriate title since he hadn’t seen the girl in a while, or so he said. Reconnecting never sounded so nice.
All the songs performed were happy, lively and positive, like the singers. The two last songs included all three singers. Jesse and Melissa harmonized to the acoustic guitar, Alan jammed on the keyboard, and the audience clapped and whooped. Everyone looked like they were having fun on and off the stage.
Overall, a great experience and a great lunchtime. Sign me up for the next lunchtime concert! Although seats and shade would be nice …
LEA MURILLO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org