The Music Department at Grand Rapids Community College is hosting a free Rock the Vote concert with special performances by Grand Rapids’ own The Crane Wives at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1 in room 200 in the Linn Maxwell Keller Recital Hall in the Albert P. Smith Music Center.
The concert, organized by GRCC students Ben Kolk and Kaitlyn Zittel, comes less than a week before the midterm elections on Nov. 6. The organizers hope the concert will bring students, regardless of their political beliefs, to the polls on Tuesday and let their voices be heard.
“(The concert is) just trying to motivate students to get out and vote,” said Ben Kolk, 20, one of the Rock the Vote concert organizers. “We’re not pushing a particular political agenda or anything. It’s just, there’s a big percentage of college students, people my age, who aren’t voting, and they’re just staying at home for whatever reason that may be. And we’re just trying to get people excited about the election, about being able to take their part in democracy.”
For Kolk, the most important thing for students to take away from the concert is that they feel motivated to vote in the elections and express their opinions through participation.
“Their voices do matter,” Kolk said. “Everyone of us plays an integral role in our government in making changes and if we want any change to happen, the only way that’s going to happen… is going to be just getting out to the polls and making your voice heard.”
Crane Wives bassist Ben Zito echoed Kolk’s wishes for the show, but added an important wish any artist has when playing in front of an audience.
“First and foremost, we want to entertain people, so hopefully they’ll have a good time,” Zito said. “But also we just really want to express the importance of getting to the polls.”
Zito and The Crane Wives have been looking for ways to get involved in encouraging people to vote in the upcoming elections and when the opportunity arose to perform at GRCC, they didn’t say no.
“Our friend Ben Kolk asked us if we would be interested in the Get Out the Vote campaign and we’ve been trying to find ways to facilitate that campaign… so we figured this would be a good opportunity to get people out to the ballot boxes and support those causes.”
The Crane Wives are a four-member Indie/Americana folk group with roots in Grand Rapids. The group formed in 2010 and have released three albums.