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The Blue & Gray Press | January 16, 2019

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Two local Virginia bands serenade Ball Circle at Rockobterfest

Two local Virginia bands serenade Ball Circle at Rockobterfest


On the brisk afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 17, the Campus Programming Board collaborated with the Class Council to introduce two bands for this year’s Rocktoberfest. One of which, Virginia Man, an unconventional Indie Folk band, made their debut on Ball Circle.

Following Virginia Man was the band Maggie Says, an alternative rock band that likes to put a spin on pop pieces. Unlike Virginia Man, Maggie Says has had the opportunity to perform for UMW students and faculty last semester for UMW’s Battle of the Bands.

Kevin Duong, graduate assistant of the Office of Student Activities and Engagement, who oversees the Campus Programming Board heard Virginia Man at a friend’s house and was interested in their sound. He offered the members an opportunity to perform on campus as a part of Rocktoberfest in order to gain publicity for their newly formed band. Members of Virginia Man include Jacob Keller on the keyboard, Josh Honaker and Andrew Burlingame on acoustic guitars. Kristian Lietzan interchanged his positions as the lead singer while also playing the guitar.

“[We’re] the hottest up and comin’ Folk band in Fredericksburg,” the boastful Honaker said.

The Class Council that sponsors the Campus Programming Board receives their funding from the campus finance committee after they submit a proposal. The funds are renewed yearly and the organizations determine how to allot the money accordingly throughout the semester. The Campus Programming Board co-sponsors by paying out of pocket, together as a club, for the bands they book to attend these events.

Students such as Shannon Becker a sophomore double majoring in Biology and Latin studies, only had positive comments about the event, and said that Virginia Man had “a really good folksy sound and a genuinely happy vibe.”

The turnout was not considerably large, but the band was able to keep the atmosphere lively with students tuned into the music. The members of “Virginia Man” described their stage dynamic as friends enjoying an experiential bonding moment and having a good time.

Pulling heavily from influences such as Hozier, Needtobreathe and The Avett Brothers, Virginia Man performed covers such as The Tallest Man on Earth’s piece, “The Dreamer” and George Ezra’s “Budapest.” In between the cover songs, however, they added in original pieces that lead Lietzan had written herself.

The atmosphere completely changed as Maggie Says took the stage. As they presented an assortment of melancholy rock songs, originals and surprisingly even an alternative spin on Lorde’s pop song “Royals.”

Originating in Virginia Beach, the band’s members include Gregory Chandler on the electric guitar and Ryan Nelson on the drums. Chandler explained that the band prefers to be a two-member unit as it allows for easy movement and collaboration. Maggie Says derives its inspirations from real life experiences which they creatively write into music, with a few minor adjustments to make it more interesting, of course.

Ashley Peacock, member of the Campus Programing Board, said that she appreciates their performances.

“[I’ve] Heard them a couple times [already] and [have always] had a good time,” Peacock said. Similarly, Josh Smallwood, president of the Class Council, stated that each of the bands had something important to offer.

“Both Maggie Says and Virginia Man have a unique sound that brings a crowd,” Smallwood said.