At 12:05 p.m. today, two white vans pulled up in front of the Kansas Union. A group of about 20 people climbed out, clutching instruments to their sides as they lined up in front of the bushes. As they readied their instruments and started to play, several students looked on in curiosity. This was one of Asphalt Orchestra's many flash concerts.
These “flash concerts,” or impromptu performances, are not something new for the traveling band. According to the Lied Center's event page, Asphalt Orchestra is a “guerilla-music force” based in New York City. The group often holds flash concerts before their big performances and held one yesterday on Massachusetts Street.
“It's our first time in Kansas,” Jessica Schmitz, piccolo player, said. “We love coming to towns like this for university students. We hope we can show people that music can be used in all contexts, and that it's not just cut-and-dry.”
The orchestra traveled down the street to the Oread, stopping by the Alumni Center to play for onlookers. Students on the street did not expect the show, and many reacted by pulling out their cameras to record the performers, like Zachary McCarter, a junior from Ogallala, Neb.
“It wasn't exactly surprising because things like this always happen on campus,” McCarter said. “It was still a surprise, though, because no one expected it to happen.”
Schmitz hopes the flash concert will attract students to their show at the Lied Center tonight at 7:30 p.m. Student tickets are $12 dollars each.
“We hope to see everyone at the show,” Schmitz said. “I'm really excited to show the students how fun music can be.”