by Cara Martin
It has been several years since Rick Robbins, a teacher at Immanuel High School, began holding small concerts in the new Chapel that was built on campus. In recent years, another teacher joined the school, Aaron Lipinski, who has also helped set up these concerts.
Talking to Mr. Lipinski, I was able to find out much more about the process and how complex it all was. To make a concert happen, they first need to figure out who they would like to bring, whether the bands will be headlining or accompanying, if the bands will be new or ones that have already been here, and a big issue is whether all of the expenses will be given back once they make a profit. To find these bands, Mr. Robbins and Mr. Lipinski will sometimes call a booking agency (after seeking out a certain band) to find out their prices and what tours they will be on.
They do not always seek out the bands as many smaller, less well-known bands contact them. “The Chapel is a great facility and it would be a shame to waste it,” said Mr. Lipinski when asked why they decided to put on these concerts. “There are not many great venues provided in this area and this gives a chance to show more variety, present something that could be for all ages and for music lovers in the area, and this is an opportunity to show young teens the school (who may be interested in attending).”
There is also the issue of what bands they will let play since the school is Christian-based. When asked, Mr. Lipinski did say they try to incorporate a spiritual emphasis, bringing bands that are geared towards a spiritual basis. Not only is it because Immanuel is a Christian school but they do not want to risk foul language and a bad message, they want a positive influence and for the bands to set a good example.
While not everything always seems to go right — many times it is hard with just Mr. Robbins and Mr. Lipinski in charge — and it can be chaotic if any problems arise with set-up or lighting, most students who have been to the concerts have enjoyed them very much. “It is good to get the chance to see some of the smaller bands that come through, they are all pretty cool! It’s really fun and memories are made, meeting the bands and hanging out with friends,” said Ariel Cormack, one student who has been to all of the concerts.
There is a lot of work that goes into making these shows happen and what many may not realize is that most of the workers are students who attend Immanuel. Both Mr. Robbins, who works mainly with sound and all that goes on in the back booth, and Mr. Lipinski, who works mainly with recording, direct the students on what they need to do.
It is a great learning experience for the students, and the students gain experience backstage and with lighting. Robert Suderman — a junior at Immanuel High School — said, “It’s really neat to be able to help bands unload their gear and watch them sound check and such. Some bands are really grateful for our help, and other bands don’t really want it, but all of them are surprised at how much we know.”
If you have not been to one of these concerts, I would recommend coming out to the next show. It is an enjoyable experience if you enjoy rock music and it is a community effort that makes these shows possible so you have the chance to come and listen.
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