Couch concerts: APPS reimagines performances in new concert series

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Aubrey Smith, A&C Reporter

While concerts in Legends won’t reappear anytime soon, the main student-programming organization at App State is opening its office doors to musical artists. 

App State Popular Programming Society has reimagined concerts in a COVID-safe way. Its new concert series, Front Desk, invites musicians to perform in the walls of their own office in Plemmons Student Union, with a virtual audience. 

APPS Club Show council chairperson Emily Gottlieb said that NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, a series of concerts performed at a literal tiny desk, inspired the organization. 

“We were just thinking about what we could do virtually for the student body,” Gottlieb said. “Where they don’t have to physically be anywhere and worry about COVID.” 

Front Desk has been in the works since May, Gottlieb said. 

Founded in 1985, APPS is split into seven different councils, with focuses ranging from films to music, to spirit and traditions and many more. The organization is known for its events on campus, including concerts featuring national talents such as The 1975, Cherub and Lil Wayne. 

“We are currently in charge of all of the local music,” Gottlieb said. “We primarily focus on student bands but are open to bands local to North Carolina.” 

While the organization can’t put on its regular shows, such as the annual Battle of the Bands event, its members are trying to provide some sort of normalcy while also keeping students safe, Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb and the council worked on recruiting artists for the concert series by posting on social media, searching for local artists online, and listening to students’ suggestions.

APPS new concert series Front Desk. Inspired by NPR’s Tiny Desk, APPS created Front Desk to be a COVID-safe way to watch concerts.

The first season of Front Desk will showcase three North Carolina-based bands.

Allie Tarry, chairperson for the Main Stage council, believes Front Desk has allowed the organization to host a different kind of music scene. 

“With Front Desk, we don’t have to worry about if it’s going to sell out or not,” Tarry said. “We can book a lot of different stuff that we wouldn’t have been able to do before.” 

While Club Shows is dedicated to local artists, Main Stage is concentrated on national touring acts. 

Tarry looks forward to showing off the talent of local artists through Front Desk. 

“I just want to show off our music scene,” Tarry said. “And also bring new music to people on campus.” 

Cane Mill Road, a bluegrass group, is the first band to perform on Front Desk, premiering Feb. 12. Liam Purcell, a member of the group, said that Front Desk is a great way to put out music during COVID. 

“It’s great to have a program that will assist and help put that content together,” Purcell said. “App has been really great about providing facilities and equipment.” 

The rest of the artists featured in the concert series are student bands 80 Unlacey on Feb. 19. and Juniper Avenue on Feb. 26. 

“It’s been really cool to see the talent,” Tarry said. “People are so talented here.” 

APPS specifically designed Front Desk to be free for the general public, using money from their budget that traditionally was spent on hosting concerts, Tarry said. 

The production of Front Desk will adhere to COVID policies, such as requiring masks and social distancing. There will be no more than 10 people in the office at one time. 

“We take these very seriously,” Tarry said. “We take precautions to have as little people in the room as possible.” 

APPS is releasing each concert on their IGTV and YouTube. Gottlieb hopes that the videos will serve as artifacts for students to remember. 

“They can continue watching it forever,” Gottieb said.