Students have the opportunity to perform at the café in the Barnes & Noble University Bookstore.Ben Vasko, a freshman studying music business, already has kicked things off, performing on most Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. He is the first student featured this year at the café.
Vasko plays alternative indie pop-rock, comparing the music he performs to bands such as Switchfoot, House of Heroes, Thirty Seconds to Mars and Anberlin, which is his favorite.
He has been writing music for five years, but he started playing percussion when he was in middle school. Learning to play a variety of instruments, including drums, guitar, bass and piano, he performs live acoustic sets at local bars and coffee shops.
Vasko said he enjoys playing at the University Bookstore because he feels more connected with the audience.
“It’s fun. It’s a nice, mellow, low-key coffee shop gig. I like that,” Vasko said. “It’s a little more personal. I am able to talk to the people I’m performing for and the tips I get there actually pay for my gas money.”
He is currently a one-man show, but is looking for members to add to his band, The Stairwell. Vasko has received some recent recognition for his music; he won best alternative rock EP in July from The Akademia Music Awards.
He has recorded and released two discs, and his music is available on Spotify, iTunes, Facebook and Twitter. He also has T-shirts and CDs for sale at his shows.
The Barnes & Noble University Bookstore is looking to add more live music performances from UT students throughout the week and also during the weekend.
All student performers are entered for a chance to win free textbooks for spring semester and receive a coupon to be used on a purchase of UT clothing. All performers also are featured on the bookstore’s Facebook page.
Current UT student musicians can contact Colleen Strayer, general manager of the University Bookstore, to discuss performing in the café at email@example.com.
For more information on Vasko, visit reverbnation.com/thestairwell.