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Bluebird Cafe graces SUU's Convocations

The Bluebird Cafe, located in Nashville, Tenn., is teaming up with SUU for this semester's convocations.

The Bluebird Cafe, located in Nashville, Tenn., is teaming up with SUU for this semester's convocations.

Music and music writing will be the main focus of the Spring 2014 Convocation partnership with SUUSA and the Bluebird Cafe.

The Bluebird Cafe is "one of the world's preeminent listening rooms," according to the Cafe's official website.

Singers and songwriters from the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tenn. will come to SUU to discuss their songwriting process.

"The venue has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter's performance space, where the 'heroes behind the hits' perform their own songs," the website says.

SUUSA Vice President Bailey Bowthorpe said the Convocations committee does not know who exactly will be brought in. However, she said there will be people who have written hit songs for country singers such as Garth Brooks.

"They will come and tell the stories behind those songs," Bowthorpe said. "It will be a cool hour or so to listen to songwriters tell about the music business and how it is currently."

She said they were able to pull this off because Ray Grant, director of Convocations, "has connections."

Grant said he first became involved with the Bluebird Cafe when he worked as a Walt Disney Imagineer. He then brought the Cafe to Sundance where he met SUU Provost Bradley Cook, who brought Grant to SUU.

Grant said the Convocations series needed more programs driven by SUU students so he did not bring up the Bluebird Cafe until Bowthorpe mentioned that she wanted to do a Convocation that involved songwriting.

“(The Bluebird Cafe) is the house that songwriters built,” Grant said.

He said three songwriters, two men and one woman, will be brought to SUU. Their names will be announced next week.

Grant said one of those coming will be Erika Wollam-Nichols, an executive at the Nashville songwriters association and an executive director of the Blubird Cafe.

“Students will have this incredible opportunity to hear not only the gifted work of individual songwriters,” Grant said. “But they will be able to learn about the music business from those who are at the peak of that business.”

Bowthorpe said instead of having the setting like a normal Convocation where someone is lecturing people in auditorium seats, the Convocations committee will try to make it like the Bluebird Cafe, with tables and refreshments.

She said the choice to bring in a large amount of people in the music industry is because SUUSA wanted something that would speak to more than just one group of students.

"We wanted to reach a broad base of students," Bowthorpe said. "Music is really something that connects students together."

She said the committee's main goal is to see more people at Convocations.

Madi Davis, a freshman music education major from Las Vegas, said she thinks the music theme was a good idea.

Even though Davis's opera teachers do not want her to sing country, she still enjoys the genre and would be willing to go.

Davis said she would definitely go if the Convocations focused more on the music aspect of singing, because it would be easier for her to relate to.

She said the songwriters' experience will be particularly useful for anyone who is planning to do something similar as their career.

"I have a lot of friends who are in the composition program and that is what they want to do as a profession, so I think that's extremely useful to the students who are directly in that program," Davis said.

The Bluebird Cafe Convocation will take place on Feb. 4 from 11:30 to 12:30 in the Great Hall.

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