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Singers Jeremih and John Thomas perform at UB

By Althea Benloss
On April 23, 2012

On Saturday, April 21, the University of Bridgeport resurrected a tradition that disappeared 24 years ago. After months of preparation by the Student Programming Board (SPB), UB welcomed R&B/Pop Singer John Thomas and renowned R&B Singer Jeremih.

Before the doors of the Arnold Bernard Center (ABC) were opened at 6:30 p.m. sharp, there was already a line starting to form outside the doors of the security checkpoint. Security, the Bridgeport Police Department and the Concert Staff were all ready for an eventful night. Before the show, Sergeant Jessie Caldwell said that they have a set way of operating, and that "the number of security officers will increase."

"It's my first one [concert]," Sophomore and Commuter Maria Jara said, before the start of the show. "I'm excited and pumped."

Quintesse Rollins said she isn't a fan of Jeremih but she does listen to his music and went to the concert to enjoy [it].

"I wish more people would come out so we can have another one next year," she said.

As the seats began to fill up in Merten's Theater, DJ Chinaman kept the crowd energized with his mixes. The same positive feedback from the audience was received by DJ Spynfo as he spoke to the crowd and got them even more stimulated. The concert started at 8 p.m. and opened up with a performance of rapping and dancing, which included students from UB.

Singer John Thomas was the official opening act for Jeremih. Although this 19-year old from Greenwich, Connecticut's name is not as well known, he gave the audience a sneak peak to his talent singing just three songs, yet appearing to keep the majority engaged, nonetheless. On stage with him were men dressed in black suits and women in heels, dancing to a very impressive choreography. He exhibited not only his soulful voice, but also his dance moves (like the Dougie, for instance).

John Thomas is currently on tour and said he has visited about 20 schools in the past month and a half, with 12 more upcoming shows. When asked how he feels about being the face that brought the tradition back to UB after a 24 hiatus, he said he had no idea.

"That's an honor; I'm excited about that," He said. "I had a good time."

Thomas also added his appreciation.

"Shout out to UB," He said. "Thanks a lot for having me; thanks for the love [and] be sure to follow me at JohnThomas7 (Twitter.com/JohnThomas7) and JohnThomasMusic.com."

Jeremih appeared on the stage singing and then introduced himself, receiving loud cheers from the audience. He performed several songs, but popular tracks like, "Birthday Sex" and "Down on Me" were clearly recognized by the audience members. He also let the audience hear his new song from his Mixtape called, "Go to the Mo" which is soon to be released. What may have made Jeremih's performance such a success is that he interacted with the crowd, either by leaving the stage to sing to an audience member, giving roses to some of the ladies in the crowd, or by inviting the two birthday ladies to the stage to be serenated to as he played the piano. The audience sprung to their feet with a lively applause as he began singing "Birthday Sex" to the two students on stage.

"Jeremih did a good job and he can sing live which is good," Christina Leonard said.

Leonard is a UB graduate and had traveled from Massachusetts with a friend/fellow UB grad to see the concert. 

"I enjoyed it; It was really good," She said. "Hopefully next year, more people will turn out; it was a really good show."

"It was great," IDEAL student Ashley Morris said. "I really enjoyed myself."

Senior and Cultural Committee Chair of SPB Delia Amsterdam said that a lot went into planning this concert.

"We first looked for an agent, once we got that done, we did a survey and narrowed it down," She said. "Jeremih was the most affordable one in our budget."

Junior and Student Programming Board (SPB) member Brandon Lleras is a part of the UB Live Committee of SPB said this concert has been in the works since October.

"It was a lot of hard work," He said.

Lleras believes that what may have helped the ticket sales were the one-day sale a week ago and the purchases made at UB's second annual carnival earlier that day in Ped Mall.

"It would be nice if it was sold out; but for a 24 years [hiatus] we actually did pretty well on tickets," Lleras said. "It was a lot of hard work; I'm very happy for SPB in general for all the hard work and everything that we've all done."

Rebecca Romeo is a member of the National Society of Leadership & Success (NSLS) and said her role, as a part of the concert staff, was to help set up, walk around the area and "make sure every section was going well."

"Hopefully we'll have another one [concert]," Romeo said.

Sophomore and President of SPB Darren Ganesh said as a committee, they feel very proud, because UB never had anything like this before.

"This is a community thing-it's UB," he said in regards to those who did not purchase tickets. "Everyone needed to show support because that's the only way we can really get to where we want to get, to see bigger and better performances."

It is currently estimated that 250 people bought tickets to the spring concert.

"Certainly we would have loved if more people attended the show, but for those that were there I think they really enjoyed it," SPB's Advisor Colleen Powers said. "It was a great effort for UB's first concert in over 20 years, and hopefully SPB and the student body can work together to continue to host shows!"

"This is a stepping stone for UB; I think this is the start of something new," Ganesh said. "I hope that from this concert onwards, the university will see that students really want this and next year we'll be able to get more funding for something like this because it is something that students want."


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