The stage is set. The food has arrived. Mitch Clark is ready to perform.
At noon Wednesday, acoustic guitarist Mitch Clark will play in the Badger Den.
Clark is said to have an innovative sound that is hard to compare to anyone else though is related in sound to Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran and Gavin DeGraw.
“Mitch Clark is a talented performer that presents a unique style that would attract many students to our event in February,” said Claire Villanueva, programming chairwoman for the Student Government Association. Along with the performance will be free food for students.
The SGA has planned several on-campus events for the spring semester as well as off-campus activities. One of them will be the TJCSGA convention in April that Clark specifically was booked for.
“Then his agent contacted me and let me know that he was going to be in the Amarillo area on Feb. 11 and asked if we wanted to book a show,” said Heather Atchley, Student Life director.
Because he will be in the area, his rate will be more affordable.
“We thought this would be a really good show to add, so this one we added at the very last minute,” Atchley said.
It’s always a mystery behind the curtains.
To any student who shows up at the event, it might seem like a good day’s work for a little show and some free grub, but behind stage, it takes more than a few phone calls to create a show.
With at least one major event per month and also booking activities for both the West and East campuses, it is more than enough to do.
Sitting down in Atchley’s office in the basement of the CUB, she described what it takes to bring a guitarist such as Clark to the campus.
First off, Atchley makes sure that nothing conflicts with the schedule that day and checks whether it fits the performer’s schedule.
Once that is done, the location is booked – this one in the Badger Den.
A contract is negotiated with the agency and includes things such as fees, hotel accommodations, travel expenses, additional writer’s items and audio and video needs.
Writer’s items could mean water, towels or Red Bull; sometimes there are absurd things requested in the writer’s needs, but it must be honored so a good relationship is maintained with all agencies.
The booking process could take up to months and includes many details put into each event AC hosts.
Once the contract is completed, hotels are booked and all the necessary items are gathered.
“There is a lot more that goes into booking one little hour of a musical show than probably most people realize,” Atchley said. “The cool thing about this is that the Student Government Association does a lot of the work. They get to be involved in the whole booking process.”
She said the SGA helps with every step of the process from picking the entertainer to what food items there will be.
“Programming can be tricky, because even if you really want a specific person/band/theme at your event, you have to look at the logistics and be practical when making decisions,” Villanueva said.
She and her committee are in charge of helping with each event, including researching, planning, booking and choosing the theme and everything that will go along with it.
She also has to stay on budget.
“I think the hardest thing about booking an event for AC is looking for something that will attract the most amount of people or something that most of the people will enjoy,” she said.
Clark was selected based on the fact that he does a lot of his own music but also a lot of good covers of popular musicians.
“I think Mitch Clark will be full of excitement and be really upbeat,” said Keytan Callery, a sociology major.
With his strong, soft vocals and his unique musical style, his show should be engaging to the students.
“Mitch Clark is very talented, and I’m looking forward to seeing him,” said Andrew Alexander, SGA president.
The SGA tries to pick a performer who will appeal to the student body.
“What might appeal to a New York college might not appeal to the community college we have here in Amarillo, Texas, so it is a lot more than just picking a guy to sing and putting him up on stage,” Atchley said. “There is a lot that goes into it.”
There are many challenges in bringing a performer to the college. Atchley said it is worth it to see the event take place because she likes to watch the last-minute fliers being handed out and the entire buzz around campus.
“I think the students are stressed, they are busy with work, very busy with school, they are very busy with problems with things that have going on with their lives, and I completely understand that,” she said.
“To let everybody escape that for one hour to either sing at the top of their lungs along with one of their favorite songs that is being performed live right in front of them or to laugh until they cry because the comedian is so funny and to get some free food, because we are all broke, and have a good time really renews the students’ spirits and really helps them have a solid semester and connect to the college more.”
SGA members said they hope Clark will bring the sweet escape to the campus come mid-February.
Atchley encouraged all students to take advantage of the free events on campus because it really can make a difference in how students experience college and whether they will have a good time.
And if nothing else, there is free food.