I struggled with figuring out a way to start this blog because I have so many things to say about The Future is Rising Celebration. I knew this party was going to be epic, but I didn’t realize how epic it was going to be. Without a doubt, thee best event I have experience in my whole time at Southern Utah University. Yeah, I know this year has had a lot of best. Friday night reminded me (once again) why I love being a student at SUU and why I am proud to be a Thunderbird. For me, this will be what I remember about SUU Homecoming 2011.
Let me give you a little bit of a back story about this whole thing. The Future is Rising is the name of the campaign SUU President Michael T. Benson launched when he started to work here. The goal of the campaign is to raise $100 million dollars for Southern Utah University. This party was to let people know that $60 million has been raised during this campaign.
I showed up a little bit early just to be able to see what everything looked liked before a few thousand people showed up. So, here is the template for a bash.
Next, insert a crowd of people. Everyone showed up to this event: students, professors, staff members, community members, and alumni. The best compliment I can give about this is that it felt like what movies make homecoming seem like.
A Utah favorite, Peter Brienhodt, was the first act of the night. I can’t say that I knew who he was prior to this event, but I quickly learned that he has a little bit of a following. My boss showed up with a signed copy of one of his CDs. She was almost offended at the idea that my friends and I didn’t know who he was, but I certainly enjoyed his style.
Holy canoli! There was so much free food. Hot wings, tacos, nachos, cupcakes, burgers, drinks, pasta, popcorn balls, corn on the cob ALL FREE. A college student’s dream come true.
There was even this cool ice sculpture that they would pour your drink through. It might seem weird, but it was one of my favorite parts of the whole evening.
The entertainment classed up a little bit with Kurt Bestor on the piano with a full orchestra. I don’t even want to know who the poor souls were who move that grand piano out onto the stage, but it was well worth the effort. The full orchestra pushed the act over the top (in a good way). You usually get performances like that in some expensive theatre, not out on the lawn after school.
Then President Benson made a the speech talking about the $60 million dollars raised during his campaign. Once his speech was over all the lights went out, and a spectacular firework show followed. Here a video or some of the fireworks. It cuts off right at the climax, sorry. Shooting video from your phone is not a dream.
After the fireworks, the Joe Muscolino Band took the stage, and they had everyone dancing. I could have listened to them the whole rest of the evening. They were fab.
The final act of the night was the performance most of the students had been waiting to take the stage. Tyler Ward was in little ol’ Cedar City to jam with the students. Yes! Tyler Ward and his whole crew. You might recognize him from devilish time waster called YouTube. SUU was his first stop on his first ever tour. Kind of a big deal? Yeah. A YouTube star in person. The social media nerd inside of me finds this really awesome. I think I can confidently say that he had most of the girls in the audience weak at the knees.
But, before he was over the Heavens opened and said it was time to end the party. I felt a little bit robbed because I was really excited to hear Tyler live. It was raining so hard I started to wonder if it were the End of Days or something. So, continuing on would have been miserable for all involved. I just wish the rain could have held out for 30 more minutes to get the whole Tyler Ward crew experience.
All and all, a perfect night.
Southern Utah University, our future is rising.