2019 Homecoming Roundup

2019 Homecoming Roundup

By Evan Douville, Feature Editor Originally published in Issue 1, Volume 32 of The University Register on Friday, September 13, 2019

September 20 and 21, 2019 brought the UMM campus another wonderful year of homecoming. Want a quick recap for everything that happened? Let’s get started!

HomeKUMMing Concert

Section by Alisa Samadani, Staff Writer

KUMM hosted an insane lineup on Friday night, with three groups performing from 7:30 to 10 p.m. With an impressive turnout and fans swarming from the audience to the front of the stage, it was difficult to keep my composure as a writer and refrain from headbanging to every song. Lonely Enclave, the opening act, remarked: “UMM gave us a crowd that was really into it—we usually perform in small venues, so it was cool to see everyone feeling the music.” Lonely Enclave is an alternative rock trio made up of Johnny Vermeersch, Ethan Thomas, and Will Ojanen. Their music is located on Bandcamp and Spotify, with a new album in the making—follow them to see when it drops!

Paige Ellis, an R&B artist who performed last spring at CAC’s end-of-semester concert, said that she enjoyed “the homely environment.” Her performance highlighted her new album, FEARS, which was released in March of 2019.

When asked to describe FEARS for first-time listeners using three words, Ellis used “personal, soulful, and real,” and I couldn’t agree more. Check out FEARS on iTunes, Amazon,Soundcloud, and Spotify! Last, but certainly not least, Yam Haus, a four-man group based in the Twin Cities area, brought the night to a close with some of their pop punk vibes along with some impressive covers. Lars Pruitt, the lead singer of Yam Haus, loved that the audience “didn’t seem stuck up or pretentious. They were truly just there to enjoy themselves and listen to music.” Since the band has been playing for a couple of years, I asked if they had any advice to other bands who are trying to get their name out. Lars replied with: “Work hard at your craft and be patient. Say yes to as much as you can and learn when to say no too. Be kind and supportive and hold your ideas with open hands. And don’t forget to have fun.” Yam Haus’ latest single, “The Thrill”, has been described by Lars as “getting away from the noise”. Check out “The Thrill” and the rest of their singles on iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify!

All in all, the night was filled with music, cheering, and big grins—follow both CAC and KUMM to get notified about future performances on campus.

Tailgating Party

On September 21, 2019, at the Cougar Sports Center, the tailgate celebration before the big homecoming game began. Student organizations, including KUMM, Sigma Tau Delta, Korean Culture Club, Quidditch Club, Cheer Team, and more, sold food and drink to students who came along. All kinds of food were here, from hamburgers, to walking tacos, to butterbeer, and even cordon bleu balls were sold and enjoyed by many students. For the organizations selling the food, this was not only a great way to earn some fundraising money for their organization, but also a way to promote their club to interested students.

“There were students going around that were taking pictures for UMM’s social media platforms,” Chloe Johnson, president of English Club, told us, “and English Club was able to get our name/faces out there. Overall it was a great way to be able to promote our club and converse with people that had questions about who English Club is and what we do.”

Tailgating has been a UMM tradition as long as I’ve been a student here, and it’s a fun way to celebrate our school spirit. “The tailgate was a great opportunity to see and talk to people that I normally don’t get to, and it was fun to see everyone’s excitement for homecoming,” Johnson told us. “I think tailgating, especially with on-campus clubs, is really important for us as a campus because it is a great way to come together as a community and see all of the different clubs available for students to be a part of.”

KUMM had live DJs broadcasting from the event and giving away CDs for interested students to pick up. They also played live music and advertised individual radio shows. Considering it was also September 21, the DJs played, of course, Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September.” Immediately following tailgating was the homecoming game.

Homecoming Game

Right after the tailgate, in the Big Cat stadium, the Morris Cougars took on the MacMurray Highlanders for our big Homecoming football game. Unfortunately, despite doing their best, our mighty Cougars lost to the Highlanders 38-14. Some notable accomplishments from this game include Sophomore Branden Carlson recording his first career interception, Sophomore Blake Weimer scoring 11 catches (the most yet in his career), and Freshman Quarterback Daniel Francis setting the school record for most pass completions, at an astounding 31 passes. Their next game is set to be at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

UMM Homecoming Concert

Later in the afternoon, the UMM Homecoming Concert, including the Symphonic Winds, Jazz Ensemble, and Concert Choir took place. Each group performed two pieces. At the end of the concert, the special 40th Anniversary Reunion Choir, directed by Bradley Miller and former choir director at UMM Kenneth Hodgson, came on stage to celebrate and sing with members of the Concert Choir from the last 40 years. The Symphonic Winds ensemble performed two beautiful, solemn pieces, including one composed by an alumnus of UMM, Aaron Perrine. His piece, Temperance, was a slow, sweeping piece that he describes on his website as “connected to the state of Minnesota: the place [he’s] called home for most of [his] life.”

The Jazz Ensemble, by contrast, performed two very fast, upbeat pieces, including one Jonathan Campbell, the director, said sounded like “a piece of music from SimCity.”

“I think it went alright,” Kaelan Leahy, trombone, told us about their first performance. “As a first concert, and being so close to the beginning of the year, there are always ways that we can still improve. However, with the first concert out of the way, I think the band is going to be just fine heading into the future.” When asked if it was stressful to prepare for such an important concert so quickly, Leahy replied “I don’t really stress over it anymore. It is always a fun event because it’s short and features all the big ensembles, so if anything I look forward to it. Jazz is always fun to play with these people. I always enjoy myself when we play.”

The choir concert featured a blend: one slow song, one fast, upbeat song. Their concert was the most brief out of the three, but experienced some difficulties in getting their songs ready in time. Director Miller joked before their second piece, Twa Tanbou, “if it sounds like we’re on a runaway train, that’s intentional.”

“We had been working very hard on our music for the last few weeks to make sure it was ready in time for the performance,” Aaron Otten, tenor, told us. “The atmosphere was a good mix of exciting and stressful.”

After the concert choir finished their set, the 40th Anniversary Reunion Choir began, with several members from the audience flocking to the stage. They performed three songs with four decades of the choir at their back.

“Performing with several generations of the choir was really cool,” Otten said. “It was cool to see the different ‘seasons’ interacting with each other, and to meet all of the people who had been in the same place we are now, and seeing where they are in their lives, however many years later.”

The concert closed, and students returned to prepare for the homecoming dance.

Homecoming Dance

Finally, closing out the festivities, the homecoming dance was held on the evening of the 21. Hosted by the Black Student Union, the theme was “Hot Girl, City Boy Summer” and featured 00’s and 10’s music with balloons and a photo booth. Students danced the night away and in general, had a good time. I would normally have an interview here, but everyone was having too much fun for me to snag one. Sad day.

And with that, homecoming came to an end. Filled with ups and downs, 2019’s homecoming celebration was not one to forget. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Photo on top courtesy of UMM Flickr