WXOU brings 2021 Fall Main Stage to the Habitat

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Noora Neiroukh

The Heartstrings Project headlining WXOU’s 2021 Fall Main Stage concert.

Tori Coker, Marketing Director

On Thursday, Sept. 16, WXOU brought their Fall Main Stage concert to The Habitat stage in the Oakland Center.

The concert has become a staple tradition for the station over time. As a result of COVID-19, however, OU’s campus went without the welcome event last year.

WXOU Program Director Jayme Starr played a big hand in the evening’s execution this year.

“The Fall Main Stage is an event that […] we like to do to drag as many new kids in as possible,” Starr said. “Being able to have an event to get the attention of new students [and] maybe students who kind of forgot about us — we do it every single year depending on the state of the world, and this is our first event post COVID-19, so [we’ve been] really striving for hopefully a good turn out this year.”

The prolonged absence of live music has not been unique to OU’s campus, of course. This past summer has marked a surge in the revival of touring after quite some time without in the face of the pandemic — and WXOU feels proud to be part of that moment, reintroducing students to live music.

“It feels really good, because music is such a unifying thing,” Starr said. “We can all bond together as an OU community through music, which is really special.”

The evening began with a performance from opener Ellen Wallenfang, a senior at OU studying voice and jazz in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Wallenfang welcomed attendees to the event with a soulful voice against keyboard, performing a stirring rendition of Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity” as well as an original song.

Next up was Diminished Harmony, a band composed of three OU students — Phillip Christiansen, Katherine Lengyel and Cayla Stus. The trio joined forces in 2020, with their Main Stage performance marking their debut.

“I really hope [the audience] saw three people up there just looking to really bring the joy of music to people,” Christiansen said.

Following powerful renditions of “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey and “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye, Stus then performed two original songs of her own, before she and Christiansen closed out the set with covers of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars and “enough for you” by Olivia Rodrigo.

Folk band The Heartstrings Project then took the stage as the headliners of the event, their three-part harmonies and acoustic stylings washing over the Habitat with a fierce warmth. Songs like “just a lil bit” and “run” marked memorable moments in the set, successfully producing great applause from the audience. The trio — made up of brothers Luke and Elias Wygodny as well as Marina Pires — told stories about their own origins and that of their music between songs, inviting the audience in and establishing a palpable intimacy within the space.

“It feels very nice to sing and play for people in person, so thank you for being here,” Luke Wygodny said onstage.

The event also featured raffles for two different ticket prizes — those aged 21 and above could enter to see Tyler Henry from E!’s “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry” live on his upcoming tour, and a raffle to go see Disney Channel alums Aly & AJ live in concert was open to all ages. Several winners went home with pairs of tickets to the latter — and while most raffle tickets went toward seeing the band, those interested can look forward to WXOU giving away the Tyler Henry tickets soon over social media.

The show closed out with a reminder from Starr that more Main Stage events are on their way in the near future. Students who wish to keep up with any news on these events can follow WXOU on Instagram @wxou to stay tuned for more information.