At least once a year, the JMU campus can head out to a large-scale concert in our convocation center for about five-hours of music, dancing, and fun. To most, the large building that is home to basketball, speakers, and graduation transforms magically- no questions on the set up are asked. But how long does the entire convo show process really take? Here’s a breakdown of the timeline:
1) Creating the survey- 5 months before show time
- Our Spring convocation show generally takes place in April. To plan this event, we start putting together a list of potential artists for the student body to vote on in November.
2) Releasing the survey- 4 months before show time
- Our survey gets sent out to the student body at the end of the fall semester. It’s out for a little over a week while we collect results.
3) Collecting data and sending offers – 3 months before show time
- In early January, our exec board meets with the results of the survey and the feedback of the Center Stage committee to discuss the best possible show for JMUs campus. We go over all of the options, discuss their draw, cost, availability, tour route, and pricing. Finally, when we’ve narrowed down the best possible results, we submit our offers.
4) Finalize our artist selection and sign contracts – 3 months before show time
- Once our official offer is submitted, we hear back and get the contracts off to be signed by both UPB and the artists representatives.
5) Book hotels and make travel arrangements – 2 months before show time
- Harrisonburg clearly isn’t near many major cities. When artists come through here, they usually end up needing to stay the night somewhere in the area. The Center Stage hospitality chair is responsible for booking hotel rooms and making sure all travel arrangements are set for the artist. If they’re flying into local airports like Shenandoah, it is our job to transport them to JMU. All of this needs to be settled before hand.
6) Announce the show and sell tickets – 1 month before show time
- We try our best to make our show announcements exiting. Usually we like to announce convo about a month before the concert, giving people enough time to get excited but not have to wait too long for the opportunity to buy tickets. We have to come up with a marketing scheme and tickets within this time frame.
7) Load in – 2 days before the show
- Convo is a huge space to set up for a concert. Two days before the show takes place, we begin to set up the stage, lights, and sound. Anyone and everyone in UPB helps with this process and it takes a long time.
8) Day of Show
- This is a very exciting time for us. We continue to do any last minute set up and prepare the dressing rooms for the artist. We have a security meeting and make sure everyone knows what they should be doing during the show.
Preparing for Convo is a long and hard process, but it all pays off!
-Karlyn Doyle, Center Stage Director