Why Join the UMS Student Committee?
The UMS Student Committee (UMSSC) is a student organization dedicated to connecting the University of Michigan campus community to the performing arts via UMS performances. The group meets weekly and works together to envision, create, and implement grassroots marketing campaigns across U-M to promote upcoming events and engagement activities. Student Committee co-leaders Jacob Gibson and Jaime Sharp shared what makes UMSSC stand out from more than 1,600 student organizations at Michigan.
How did you become involved with UMS?
Jacob: My involvement with UMS began my freshman year when I joined the UMS Student Committee. UMSSC was the first student group I got involved and it is still what I’m most involved with. It’s been amazing to continue to find new ways to get involved with UMS, as I’m now a co-president of the Student Committee and a student assistant in the marketing department.
Jaime: My freshman year we saw the Berlin Philharmonic for my birthday! I am in SMTD, so my friends and I heard a lot about the performances. I saw a poster for the committee in the student lounge at the music school at the beginning of the second semester of my freshman year, and have been involved ever since!
What do you think UMS brings to the student experience at Michigan?
Jacob: I’m constantly amazed by the caliber of performances that UMS brings to campus. With student ticket prices being so affordable, it is very special to have such amazing experiences so accessible to students. I know for me personally, my relationship to the arts has significantly deepened through all of the opportunities that UMS has offered. Especially as a non-SMTD or Stamps student interested in the arts, UMS has been important in allowing me to stay engaged with the arts community in Ann Arbor.
Jaime: To be able to experience incredible performances in historical venues that are literally blocks away from my apartment is truly remarkable! We are so fortunate to be able to have accessible and affordable shows on campus.
This Fall, you organized an open house for students to experience Hill Auditorium. What was the inspiration for this idea?
Jaime: Most U-M students walk by Hill Auditorium daily, and most of them never step foot inside. We wanted to give them a chance to explore the venue for free while also learning about the world-class performances that are held there. Not only were we advertising for UMS, but all kinds of performance arts across campus.
Jacob: The inspiration for the Hill Open House came from a discussion about how central Hill Auditorium is to U-M’s campus. At the same time, we thought about how so many students never have the chance to see the whole venue, and for some, they never have the chance to go inside. We wanted to offer a chance for students to experience the beautiful venue and learn about its history in relation to UMS and U-M. The day went phenomenally! Over 400 students showed up which was above and beyond what we expected. All of the students who came seemed to have a wonderful time talking with community members and getting to see the hall.
What’s been your favorite performance this season?
Jacob: My favorite performance that I’ve attended this season is Teac Damsa’s Swan Lake. I loved the interdisciplinary aspect of the work. The way it blended dance, music, and theater was incredible.
Jaime: My favorite performance so far this year has been Isango Ensemble’s Magic Flute. As an opera singer and an avid Mozart fan, it was incredible to see such a traditional and well-known opera be performed using African traditions. It was the best production of Flute I’ve ever seen! It’s incredible to witness a company so passionate and grateful for what they do!
What performance are you most looking forward to next semester?
Jacob: The performance I am most looking forward to is Angelique Kidjo’s Remain in Light. I fell in love with Angelique’s version of the album when it came out last year and have been excited to see it live since it was announced.
Jaime: I’m most looking forward to the Chineke! Orchestra. I’ve been following them for a while, but since they are primarily based in Europe I’ve never had a chance to see them perform. As an artist of color, representation matter and I feel very fortunate for groups like them!