Excitement radiated through the atmosphere as JMU students wrapped around Wilson Hall, mentally preparing for their middle school dreams to come true. They were going to be in the same room as Jesse McCartney. The concert, brought to JMU through the University Program Board (UPB), was the highlight of all events for the McCartney lovers, as they waited eagerly for the 8pm show to start on Friday, October 20.
Junior SMAD major Madison Basil, said her general admission ticket was $16, and she exclaimed that price was “totally worth it” as she reminisced about McCartney’s Disney Channel days on Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
Another enthusiastic concert–goer, junior Earth science major Caryn Osborn, confessed that she bought a ticket because McCartney “is the love of [her] life.” Osborn continued to stroll down memory lane, along with other concert-attendees, remembering that she saw him on television when she was “7 years old and thought that’s a cute man right there.”
As students with general admissions tickets waited for 8pm to roll around and the line grew longer, fifty lucky students who were able to snag a meet and greet with McCartney were inside soaking up each second with they were granted with him. This ticket, which promised a spot in the pit close to the stage, cost $65, a price that senior communication and Spanish double major Peyton Johnson said was well worth it. Johnson happily declared she was “the first person to meet” McCartney during the meet and greet portion of the evening. Senior communications major Jenna Schneider also met McCartney and professed that “this was the most important day of her life and would be up there with [her] wedding day.”
UPB had the opening act, Hellogoodbye, for the concert and one of their band members, Augustine Rampolla, claimed he was “really excited to open for” McCartney. Hellogoodbye performed and Rampolla explained their musical style as “indie-pop, dance music, and soft acoustic numbers with ukuleles.”
Senior communications major and UPB member Angelina Benedetti-Flores was excitedly waiting in line outside of Wilson as the meet and greets were taking place inside. She explained that “Jesse McCartney was the number one artist chosen by JMU students and he was in UPB’s budget to perform at JMU.” UPB gave out a survey to students a few months back, receiving a nearly unanimous response in favor of McCartney. “He’s someone that a lot of the students wanted, and having the show sold-out in three minutes showed that,” Benedetti-Flores continued.
Pulling off the show was a team effort for UPB. Senior psychology major Marisa Agugliaro, VP of marketing for UPB, and senior communication major Katie Miller, Director of PR, did their part for the event. They helped set up the social media aspects prior to the event and were involved with selecting student press representatives to attend the concert. Both women were happy with how the concert turned out, along with other lucky audience members.
As McCartney wrapped up the night with his famous song ‘Beautiful Soul,’ Benedetti-Flores expressed a thought that, surely, many concert attendees were thinking: “I hope Jesse and I make eye contact across the room and he’s like ‘wow I love her,’ and we get married.” Whether that happened or not, being in the same room with this amazing performer was a fairy-tale ending for many who had been dreaming of this day for years.