Music by Adrian Xavier and his band filled north campus with sounds of summer on Wednesday, June 28. Uplifting reggae reverberated off brick buildings surrounding the Performing Arts Center plaza. With temperatures in the mid to upper 70s, students, faculty and children gathered at the plaza to eat, dance, laugh and enjoy wholesome summer music.
The concert on June 28 was the first of the 2017 Summer Noon Concert Series. Jennifer Cook, the Associated Students student activities adviser, helped to organize the concerts this year. She said Western has been hosting the series for roughly 25 years. The event is sponsored by the AS and funded by the service and activities fee, which is paid by students in addition to tuition.
Roughly 75 people were at the concert, Cook said. Four more concerts are planned for July, taking place on Wednesdays at noon.
Cook said the open space of the plaza and the gorgeous view of Bellingham Bay make it the perfect spot.
“This is really meant for whoever is on campus during the summer for entertainment,” she said. “We have a majority of faculty and staff who come out of their offices during lunch to see these, but of course students are invited.”
Wednesday’s concert featured Seattle-born artist Adrian Xavier. He has been performing for almost two decades, and is the lead singer of a band that includes a guitarist, bassist and drummer. Xavier has been playing with his bassist and guitarist for 17 years and his drummer for 10 years.
Lennox Holness, 65, is the bass player in the group. Holness was born in Jamaica and grew up in London. He has been playing bass for over 40 years and describes the music as uplifting with a positive message.
“I try to be as positive as I can, even with the negative stuff,” Holness said.
Senior and elementary education major Florence Quero was in the Viking Union at the time of the concert.
“This is really meant for whoever is on campus during the summer for entertainment. We have a majority of faculty and staff who come out of their offices during lunch to see these, but of course students are invited.”
Jennifer Cook, Associated Students student activities adviser
“I was originally going to read inside, but then I ended up coming outside and watching the concert,” Quero said. “I like the way it brought people together. I see my co-workers and I see kids dancing.”
Quero said she is excited for future concerts and would recommend more people come if they are in Bellingham.
“I like contemporary music typically, but this opened a new door to me,” Quero said.
The concert was a fusion of several genres, including reggae, funk and blues on top of what Xavier described as a “solid groove foundation.” Xavier said his music addresses issues we all face just being alive on the planet today.
“I touch on issues that I feel really connected to,” Xavier said.
He said he is closely connected to the struggles of Native Americans. Xavier lived on Lummi Island for some time and performed at a benefit concert for the Standing Rock protests. His music aims to be positive even through the hard times, he said.
His lyrics also comment on issues such as race and class. However, the central theme of Xavier’s music is the environment.
“When you’re talking about the air we breathe, the water we drink and living on the planet, it’s so relatable and universal it transcends language,” Xavier said.
Xavier said he loves being able to share his ideas with the audience and enjoys the energy he creates with his bandmates during a performance. He enjoys seeing people find out things about themselves through the music, he said.
His background in music began early. He received a ukulele from his stepfather when he was 4 years old and a Fender Telecaster, a guitar he still has, when he was 5.
Some of Xavier’s personal heroes helped solidify his path in music, including Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. Xavier is the son of a disc jockey and a music collector. His godmother gave him over 2,000 records from Jamaica, he said.
If you missed the concert, you can download songs for free from his website. You can also join Xavier’s mailing list to find future shows in the Pacific Northwest. His next show will be at the Oregon Country Fair on Saturday, July 8.
This article was updated on July 14, 2017. A previous version of the article said the AS service and activities fee was included in tuition. However, while the fee is mandatory for students paying tuition, it is not included in tuition.