Whether or not everyone’s aware of it, the region holds an incredible amount of talent within it’s borders, and sometimes there’s an opportunity to witness it first hand. On Sunday night that opportunity arose. Valpo’s own 98.3 WVLP radio station hosted their third annual Stars Over Valpo at Valparaiso University’s Center for the Performing Arts which gathered nineteen local musicians for two hours of wonderful, home-grown music in order to showcase Northwest Indiana’s talent and to raise money for the station.
For more photos from the event, please click here!
Stars Over Valpo is one of the most intimate and astonishing nights of music a person can find in the region each year. The audience and performers were crowded together in the University’s Duesenberg Recital Hall, a hall that allows each person to greatly experience the intimate affair - no matter what seat they were in.
The two hours of music was fast paced and smoothly orchestrated as each of the twenty acts played one song and then handed over the stage to the next person. Each one of them only had a few amps or went unplugged, which really showed every single act’s raw talent. All of the performers were different from the next, making the night an eclectic mix of different musicians. Along with their different sounds, all of the musicians varied from experienced to burgeoning artists, which is something WVLP wanted to put in the mix as well. Gregg Kovach, Executive Director of WVLP, noted that Stars Over Valpo goes through some changes each year in order for some smaller acts to get their chance in the spotlight.
“We’ve rotated the set list each year so that all of the acts are different than the past year.” Kovach stated. “This year is remarkably different from the last. We’ve got ten new acts this year that have not played this before. At least half of the people performing this year have never performed for a crowd of nearly this size, so it’s cool to see them get exposure through this night.”
Even if the acts were nervous about their first time with a large audience - they never showed it. Backstage all of the acts mixed, mingled and jammed together, and it was easy to see that all of them were there to have a good time in support of an organization that believes wholeheartedly in their talents.
Robert Rolfe Feddersen, the last act to play that night and host of ‘Left of Center’ on the station, said that being amongst over twenty skilled musicians in the show was an enamoring experience.
“I think that music is the most important thing in the universe, so to be able to play with so many other musicians is a gift.” Feddersen stated. “To be able to have that sense of community with all of these other people and that we’re all brought together by music is the most fantastic thing.”
Feddersen went on to say that the night not only brought the acts together to play their music, but it also showed that the station and the community really does back them up.
“Tonight makes it obvious that there’s a huge amount of talented people here that are interested in playing music - and that there’s a community to back them up that are interested in hearing what these people have to give them. It’s a gift to have a community that supports small radio.”
The community, in return, was happy to show support to those musicians. Some of the audience members had been to the show before, but others got their very first chance. Steve Huemmerich was one of those people and couldn’t of been more glad that he came along.
“My friends invited me to join them tonight, and of course came because I love local talent.” Huemmerich explained. “The talent tonight was great - it was fantastic! I have seen some of them play before but it was great seeing all of the others. There wasn’t a bad act up there. It was really worth coming out tonight and hearing all of this great music.”
In the end Stars Over Valpo, the station that puts it on, and the musicians who participated really does show that we don’t have to go far to witness first class acts - they are right here in our “rinky dink town” (as WVLP’s Paul Schreiner puts it). There were only over a dozen acts in the show, but it’s for certain that there’s plenty more out in the region to be discovered and listened to, and WVLP is right there to hand their listeners that music on a silver platter. Stars Over Valpo absolutely did what it was set to do: to show that the stars in Valpo shine insanely bright.