Idol contestant opens Lecture Series’ 50th Anniversary lineup

Nizhoni Terronez

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On Thursday night, American Idol alum, Jason Castro, performed in Akin auditorium. Photo By Yasmin Persaud

On Thursday night, American Idol alum, Jason Castro, performed in Akin auditorium.
Photo By Yasmin Persaud

It was nearly a full house in Akin Auditorium Sept. 4 as students filed in to see former American Idol contestant Jason Castro perform. Castro entertained the audience with his “unplugged” performance, according to the Dean of Students and the Artist Lecture Series adviser Matthew Park. Castro kicked off the Artist Lecture Series for the 2014-15 academic year.

“We were worried in the sense that is was very early,” Park said. “It was probably the earliest we’ve had an event to start the year. There wasn’t a lot of time to promote the event, but we only had 20 or 30 tickets remaining.”

Up next in the Artist Lecture Series is conservationist Jeff Corwin, lecturer Elizabeth Smart, and musicians Todd Green and the Dallas String Quartet.

“The way it ultimately played out is there are five different events,” Parks said. “Two of those are going to be more the traditional lecture format, but yet they picked individuals that are extremely different topics.”

The acts are selected by a student-organized committee consisting of usually eight to 12 members and the selection process takes three to five weeks. The organization started in 1964, making this year the Artist Lecture Series’ 50th anniversary.

“It’s not just for students, it’s also for the rest of the community,” said pre-med and biology senior Brianda Morales. “We don’t want the series to be just music or just lectures, we want it to be a combination. The goal is to bring a mixture of everything and to appeal to everyone.”

In the first show of their 2014 international tour, the group Pentatonix consisting of Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola, performed in Akin Auditorium at Midwestern State University Feb. 4. Photo by Lauren Roberts

In the first show of their 2014 international tour, the group Pentatonix consisting of Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola, performed in Akin Auditorium at Midwestern State University Feb. 4. Photo by Lauren Roberts

Although the students make the selection for who will perform, Park said his role on the committee is to help the students fill the openings in the campus activities as well as make those connections and reach out to the speakers and performers.

“The students work really hard to identify their top choices of the speakers or performers they want to bring in,” Park said. “Once they have done that then it’s up to the faculty to start to reach out to those agents and start making firm offers to see if we can start making contracts for the speakers to come to campus.”

Accounting senior Ruth Ross said it’s not tedious or time consuming—it’s actually rewarding.

Students interested in joining the committee can apply at the Artist Lecture Series site.

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