Northrop’s Summer Music Series Through the Years

May 26, 2015

Northrop’s summer concerts have been a campus tradition for many years. Since the series’ inception in the 1950s, the genres of concerts have ranged from light-hearted acoustics and smooth jazz melodies all the way to hip-shaking Latin music.

A multitude of local artists have played the Northrop Plaza stage. Some of the more popular concerts featured The Poor Nobodys, Romantica, Toki Wright, Gramma’s Boyfriend, Machinery Hill, Jelloslave, and Kristoff Krane, just to name a few.

Many have fond memories of their time attending these concerts. My favorite concert was a salsa performance by Charanga Tropical. So many people just happened to stumble upon the concert, immediately taking off their shoes to dance in a Conga line beside complete strangers. These concerts create a culture of community during the summer months, a time that campus lacks the constant buzz of the student population.

In addition to audiences, Northrop staffers have great memories of the concert series through the years.

Northrop’s Business Manager Robin Sauerwein says she has always loved the summer music series because of the way it brings a variety of communities together.

She went on to say that “it is not a "University only event" but attracts families with little children, preschools, kid summer camps, members from group homes, and seniors. There have been several concerts when both young children and elderly were dancing in front of the stage. I think over the years, it has become a summer tradition for many people like outdoor baseball and lemonade.”

Melissa Wray, Assistant to Northrop’s Director also shared the following memory:

“We had an evening concert featuring The Ericksons and Chastity Brown one summer. We got through The Ericksons set, but then a freak storm came up and literally blew the concert away before Chastity Brown's headlining set (this was the storm that took out trees all over the Twin Cities area). We literally had to run back and forth through the scary torrential storm to get everyone inside to safety and get the musicians' (expensive!) instruments inside and dried off to make sure they weren't damaged. Once we finally got inside and were drying off, Chastity Brown got out her guitar and played an intimate mini solo acoustic concert for those of us stranded in Johnston Hall, waiting out the storm. It was magical. (And then later that night, my partner proposed to me, making the day an all-in-all memorable experience.)”

Now reopen and back home in the newly revitalized Northrop, one of the staff’ goals was to remount the popular summer series. This year we’ll be celebrating the 60th year of providing music on the plaza. This year’s Music on the Plaza is packed with 10 noon-hour concerts every Wednesday.

Wed, Jun 10

Café Accordion Orchestra
Wed, Jun 17

Social Arcadia
Wed, Jun 24

Lehto & Wright
Wed, Jul 1

The New Standards
Wed, Jul 8

Havana Gypsies
Wed, Jul 15

Rockin Pinecones
Wed, Jul 22

The Starfolk
Wed, Jul 29

Switched at Birth
Wed, Aug 5

Mary Jane Alm Band
Wed, Aug 12

Stop by the Northrop Plaza every Wednesday from June 10 through Aug 12 to catch some rays and enjoy free tunes at noon this summer!

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