UIndy Rocks Out During “Last Chance to Dance” of the Semester

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UIndy Public Relations Student Society of America and Promotions and Events Planning class (COMM 518) students planned and organized a “Rock ‘n’ Roll Night” featuring eight different bands from Rock Garage, according to an April 8 email from Student Affairs. The event took place in the Enders Engagement Center on the second floor of the Schwitzer Student Center on April 11, according to the email, and brought UIndy students, faculty, staff and community members for a night of live rock music. 

Rock Garage is a center for music lessons for guitar, bass, drums, ukulele, mandolin, banjo and vocals for people ages 11 to 77, and is located in Indianapolis, according to their website. Their website also says they place individuals into rock bands under the guidance of professional music directors.  

Junior communication major Emma Foutz and senior psychology major Jezalyn Hyzer are both a part of the graduate-level Events Planning class and they helped with running the event. Hyzer said the event was a success, as the organizers were originally hoping for 50 people to come out to the performance, but over 100 people attended. Hyzer’s role in the event was to be a delegator and oversee the operations of the night, she said. According to Hyzer it took the class a few weeks to coordinate everything for the event. 

“We’ve been working on this for about a month or so now … I think this event had a great turnout,” Hyzer said. “It was so relaxing to watch everybody, especially people who aren’t from campus. We had some outside-of-campus people come in, and they really enjoyed it. They loved UIndy, looking at everything in Schwitzer, and just experiencing a college campus again.”

Foutz said her role in the event was serving as a liaison and mediator between the UIndy PRSSA chapter  and COMM 518 since she is a part of both groups, as well as working on designs and promotional information. She said after the success of Rock ‘n’ Roll Night, attendees approached her asking if this is something that happens annually on campus. She hopes that UIndy will continue to work with student groups to put on more events like the rock concert. 

“People love music, and concerts  and things like that. I would definitely want to see it on campus more,” Foutz said. “Many people came out … and they were just like, ‘Wow, UIndy doesn’t really do this sort of thing.’ It was really fun to see everyone. Getting that sort of feedback is like, we’re going to try to do this again.”

The connection between UIndy and Rock Garage came from the Director of Graduate Studies in Public Relations and professor of COMM 518 Ray Begovich. Begovich said he has been a part of Rock Garage with the band “Pay-to-Play” as a bassist since October after taking up the hobby two years ago. As a favor to Begovich being one of Rock Garage’s students, he said the event was at no cost to the university or the department out of the music program’s generosity. Experiential learning experiences can be hard to find at times outside of the communication department’s applied classes, according to Begovich, so it was exciting to have the opportunity to work with Rock Garage on this event. He also said working with the university’s Event Services and Student Affairs was a huge help with the night. 

“The university is set up to support and encourage these kinds of learning activities,” Begovich said. “We couldn’t have done this without Event Services and Student Affairs. Because of that strong infrastructure we have here, we’re able to pull these kinds of things off at what I think is a pretty high level.”

Begovich said one of his students phrased the event as “the last chance to dance” for the 2024 Spring semester. Though the event was not a big concert tour, he said he was glad that attendees enjoyed being at the performance and that his student’s work had paid off. 

“It was kind of nice, at least for the students, who were there to just kind of relax for a little bit and have fun. But more important, to see their creation coming to fruition,” Begovich said. “It’s a really complicated thing to bring in all the gear and eight different bands and to make sure everything moves right now. It’s not a big, mega kind of concert tour or a big deal. You know, we’re just upstairs in the student center. But even on that scale, the same amount of planning is involved … and you know, with no budget, it was pretty amazing.”

 According to Foutz and Hyzer, seeing Begovich perform in “Pay-to-Play” was something that they really enjoyed during the event. Hyzer said that Begovich often downplays his abilities, so to see him jam out on stage was an awesome experience for not only her but for all of Begovich’s students who attended the performance. Foutz said she appreciated seeing her professor’s hobbies in action, as he has only ever brought his bass into class one time to show off a few riffs. 

“To see him [Begovich] in the band that he’s been talking about all year actually perform, it was so cool,” Foutz said. “Especially just to see a professor engage in his own hobbies. It was really awesome.”

Photo by Allison Cook Director of Graduate Studies in Public Relations Ray Begovich jams out on the bass guitar with the band “Pay-to-Play” at Rock ‘n’ Roll Night in the Enders Engagement Space on April 11. The event was put on by PRSSA and COMM 518 students as a “last chance to dance” of the semester.

Hyzer, Foutz and Begovich said having events such as Rock ‘n’ Roll Night is important to the campus community, especially during this time of the year. According to Foutz, it is important to have a break from everything amid the chaos of the end of second semester. 

“April is the hardest month for college students,” Foutz said. “Everything ramps up. There are so many exams and papers and everything and so, just one night to sit, listen to good music, and be with your friends and family relieves you a little bit of that stress. By having three hours to just chill and to listen to good music, I think it’s beneficial to just give your brain a break.”

Hyzer said that being able to step away from responsibilities for a little bit to support the community while having fun is important to one’s overall well-being. She appreciated seeing UIndy alumni and other community members to come out to the event and relax just as students were. 

“These events provide a great distraction. I think we get so caught up in our heads about everything that we’ve got to do and how much stress is on us,” said Hyzer. “I think that fun events like this where there’s no learning, there’s no kind of alternative motive but to just have fun and enjoy it … just kind of sit and chill out, and let your body feel the music. I think it’s so therapeutic.”

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