Rarely do you see a large crowd of students anxiously waiting on Wilson Hall’s front steps at 7 pm on a Friday. This usually means one of two things: either students are gearing up to have an impromptu snow fight, or they are excited to see a featured show put on by University Program Board (UPB). On Friday, September 16 there was no snow, but there was light rain as students waited to get in the door to see the headlining country musician Canaan Smith and his opener Cody Purvis. JMU’s guys and gals were dressed in their weekend’s finest and an array of cowboy boots made an early September appearance to honor the true spirt of country music. Among the casual fans, curious first-years, and even some lively moms, there were many avid country music fans who were happy to see another genre highlighted in UPB’s selection.
In particular, Robby Smith, a first year graduate student in the college student personnel administration program, and his friend Kalen Bushong, a junior marketing major, were two guys who were very pleased with UPB’s choice.
Smith, has seen numerous performances put on by UPB, commented, “I could be wrong, but I think the last country act I can specifically remember seeing at JMU was Gloriana, so I’m happy to see that UPB made the decision to get a country artist this year.”
Junior communication sciences & disorders major Erica Pence (Yes, distant cousin to Mike Pence) was also excited about seeing Canaan. Erica expressed, “I listen to country music a lot and this is my first concert here at JMU so I can’t wait to get in!”
Her concert buddy Emily McAllister, who is a junior and an interdisciplinary studies major, also expressed another interesting distant relation. Emily went to high school with the opening act Cody Purvis and wanted to show support for her fellow schoolmate. Cody is from Charlottesville, Virginia and is steadily on his rise to fame.
Canaan Smith, who has already made a name for himself, also grew up locally in his hometown of Williamsburg, VA. Canaan actually attended JMU for a brief period before choosing to follow his passion and pursue music full time. Sometimes school isn’t for all of us, but Canaan Smith returned one last time to make sure he truly left his mark on Madison.
He most certainly left memories for first year marketing major Madison Conner, who experienced her first JMU concert. Conner explained that she would remember the concert as a night that she was able to have fun and bond with her hallmates. “I really like when he smashed the drum set at the end for charity,” Conner commented.
Canaan and Cody fulfilled the growing desire to have a country music artist perform on JMU’s campus. All though it had a while since students like Robby Smith could recall seeing a country music artist at JMU, it was definitely worth the wait!