Students walking through the Diag Wednesday evening heard something different from the usual pleas from students passing out handouts, miscellaneous preaching and the shuffling of shoes hitting pavement.
Student artists performed on the steps of Hatcher Graduate Library on the Diag on the cold, windy evening. This performance was the first scheduled by a new student group, Stamp Nation.
The club, co-founded by LSA senior Omar Hashwi and LSA sophomore Amrutha Sivakumar — who is a Daily staff reporter — was formed after Hashwi decided to bring his business venture to campus in a way that would allow students to practice their art without worry of funding.
Hashwi’s startup, Stamp.fm, which launched last year as a nonprofit site, organizes performances that are free for performers. Stamp.fm hosts regular tournaments in which performers compete for the crown: the best artist in Ann Arbor, Michigan or elsewhere.
“I wanted to create a nonprofit site where we throw concerts and help create bands and foster a community on campus without thinking about money,” said Hashwi, who served as the former Central Student Government vice president. “Just to have fun and have a good time, and I’m doing that through Stamp Nation.”
Stamp Nation meets every Monday night in the CFC Lounge in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library. The group said they would like to have concerts every two weeks in the Diag but might be looking for an indoor venue for colder weather.
Business senior Josh Ross, along with Sivakumar, helped Hashwi put together the club with the goal of helping bands realize the resources available on campus. Ross said the club is looking to continue with Diag performances as well as concerts on a bigger level, possibly at Rackham Auditorium, where students could buy tickets ahead of time.
In addition to hosting performances, such as a battle of the bands, the club is also looking into providing workshops to teach students how to play instruments, as there are no resources currently on campus for non-music majors.
“(We would like to) partner with other musicians. If they want to throw a concert, we can help promote the show,” Ross said. “We want to do anything where we can get musicians together.”
Business junior Brandon Canniff is a hip-hop songwriter and performer who is hoping to tour after earning his degree in music business. He recently joined the club and said it has been a great place to meet other artists and work together on performances.
“Eventually, we would want to tune up with restaurants, bars, etc. and find people who would take our roster of musicians, who we’ve tested, know that are good and please the crowd, and really do a show here,” says Ross.
Though the concert did not attract masses of students, many students were aware of the performance as they passed by. While some only turned their heads and others took a quick video or picture, only a few paused to listen for a couple of minutes.
LSA junior Danielle Strom was listening to the concert while waiting for a friend.
“I like that you can enjoy it if you want, but you aren’t forced to,” she said.
LSA freshman Megan Gizzi wished she knew more about when and where the performances were.
“I love listening to live music but I had never heard of the club until tonight,” Gizzi said.
By the end of the night, what was originally a quickly passing audience had evolved into a small group of students gathered in the Diag, with some even clapping, dancing and cheering on the performers.
Ross said he feels passionately about Stamp Nation creating the right kind of environment for the students.
“We want to be a place where people can feel safe and chill (so) that they can share their music and share themselves. This is a place where you can find people like you, who share your passion for music.”
—Daily Staff Reporter Amrutha Sivakumar was not involved in the writing or editing of this article due to her involvement with Stamp Nation.