Spring Concert headliner is in flux

Ryan Brown, Managing Editor

Upon first hearing, it sounds like a peculiar robber’s threat: “Give us $6,000 or you’ll get Shaggy.”

But for Programming Board members, invoking the specter of a less-than-popular  Spring Concert act may have helped secure enough Student Senate money to meet a performer’s bottom line.

“Prices went up,” Programming Board President Dedra Totin said in a Wednesday interview. “We’re looking at all the options to see what we can get for our money.”

According to Senate meeting minutes, the board on Jan. 9 requested a $10,000 emergency cash injection – an injection senators ultimately reduced to $6,000, or nearly 10 percent of this year’s $60,500 concert budget.

Board officers remained tight-lipped about this year’s top choices, but indicated that a current, popular act may be within reach after they acquired the extra student-activity funds.

Totin said two of students’ top choices – Pittsburgh-based rappers Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller – were out of the running, but noted that hip-hop acts were still prominent in their contracted casting agent’s search.

“We could never afford him,” Totin said of Khalifa, famous for his Pittsburgh anthem “Black & Yellow.” Miller is already set to perform in April at St. Francis University, ‘35 minutes’ drive from Pitt-Johnstown.

Programming Board members hope to repeat the coup they achieved last year, when the university secured top-40 acts Jason Derulo and Sean Kingston just a month before the concert date.

“Our possible ones (this year) are along the same lines,” board member Leslie Glando said.

Last year’s concert allocation, however, was $76,000; with prices apparently higher and some $10,000 less available to spend, board members said they don’t want to raise students’ hopes before a performer is guaranteed.

Possible backup acts, according to the Senate funding debate, may include reggae-rapper Shaggy, famous for his 2000 hit “It Wasn’t Me,” and Lloyd, whose songs include 2007’s “Get It Shawty.”

At least one Programming Board member said she has higher hopes than the backups, however.

“Honestly, those were the options we were given,” Glando said of Shaggy and Lloyd.

“And that’s not what we want to do to our student body.”