Natalie Stovall rocks Music on the Lawn

Photo by: Nicole Ouellette

Alexis M. Johnson, Staff Writer

Singer Natalie Stovall impressed her audience at FMU’s Music on the Lawn on Saturday, August 28. Recently voted the “Best Female Performer” and “Best Entertainer,” among other accolades by Campus Activities Magazine, Stovall was a top choice to perform at the Welcome Week event.

Hosted by the University Programming Board (UPB), the event was proposed because of Francis Marion students’ love of music.
“A lot of the students love and appreciate music, so we felt that having outdoor activities sponsored by UPB would be a good way to go,” UPB President Amanda Morales said.

Stovall’s popularity across college campuses throughout the country and other notable places such as the Grand Ole Opry, the Oprah Winfrey show and the White House made booking her a challenge.

“So this group that we’ve got today, we actually saw at a conference two years ago [the APCA conference] in Atlanta, and we wanted to have her here last year but she was solidly booked,” Morales said.

Once Stovall was booked, planning for the event was set into action. Opened by local performing brothers Lance and Chad Shirley while students enjoyed hot dogs and hamburgers, Music on the Lawn was already set to become a success before Stovall’s performance.

Once Stovall appeared on stage, her magnetic personality and music showed why she resonates so well with college students. Providing stories about inspiration for her songs such as her near-death experience with her band and performing songs such as “Whatever It Takes,” “Rip It up,” “Angel” and “Ricochet,” Stovall’s set reached students of all types. Many of the students were surprised that they enjoyed music different from the style they usually listen to.

“The music was different but it was something new,” sophomore Jamonica Haynes said.

Stovall was able to impress attendees by her eclectic mix of musical styles, most notably with her signature fiddle.

“I enjoyed it … the violin, especially, is my favorite instrument,” sophomore Daniel Lamonds said.

Near the end of the show, Stovall added her interpretation of famous and popular songs like Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.”

“I didn’t think she was going to play a lot of other people’s songs, but the ones she did play were really good,” freshman Adrienne Howard said.

Stovall ended her show by performing “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” She then autographed CDs, posters and t-shirts and took pictures with her new fans.

Despite a five minute downpour which moved Stovall and her band inside, attendance at the event was relatively high.

“We had a great increase in the number of students that attended Music on the Lawn in comparison to past instances when the event was held,” Morales said. We will continue to hold various events on the weekend and hope that attendance will continue to increase.”
Music on the Lawn, while targeted to all students, has a significant impact on freshman.

“What I’ve heard mainly from the freshman is that they like how we’re having our events and that people actually come out to them,” Morales said. “And we’re seeing a lot of involvement, whereas in the past maybe we haven’t had as much.”

The bonding power of music also contributed to the event’s success.

“I like the way it brings a feeling of unity,” junior Yana Sivolovoba said.
Many of the students enjoyed the concert and are anticipating next year’s event. They also believed that the time and effort put into the event by the UPB paid off.
“I had a blast! However much money was spent to bring them here was worth it,” junior Beth Fogle said.

To get involved with UPB, visit the Office of Student Affairs at the University Center and pick up an application or speak with a dean.