By Acacia Hernández
With classes going remote, college students across the country are holding on tight to the few tangible activities they have left. Clint Moon, a senior studying biology at Illinois, is one of those students.
“It almost acts as a checkpoint during the week for me. It’s like, ‘Hey, just wait for Thursday and I could play guitar and I could take my mind off of the stresses,” Moon said. “It’s been something that I hold onto during this time.”
From Frank Ocean to Daniel Caesar, he performs every Thursday as part of the program “Noontime Performances.” With only the tech crew allowed in the room, it’s streamed to Facebook Live and aired on the Courtyard Café screen for other students to watch.
Before the pandemic, the noontime performers would perform live in the Courtyard Café where people would be able to sit in the audience. They have since switched over to the Pine Lounge.
“There’s like the whole lo-fi hip-hop playlist on Youtube that people put on the background as they study,” Moon said. “It’s almost like I try to act like a live version of that for people. “
With the performances being streamed live for the first time, Moon’s family and friends back home have been able to tune in this semester. He has also noticed consistent people engaging during the stream.
“You see comments there and a lot of them are recurring people that say, ‘This sounded great,'” Moon said. “That’s been really cool. It’s almost been like a way to interact with people again. “
According to Bob Conrad, the Multimedia Department Manager at the Illini Union, the program has reached an even larger audience since going online during the pandemic. Initially with the pandemic, his department was informed there would be no live entertainment or performances at the Union, but his team worked to find alternatives.
“It’s been a challenge doing it in a whole different setting,” Conrad said. “But it’s been exciting during this time when there’s so little going on, just to find new creative ways to keep students engaged and to keep some of these performances going. Like Clint told me early on, it just feels good to get back into a sort of normalcy.”
Tomorrow evening the program is holding a showcase for all of its performers beginning at 6 p.m. at Anniversary Plaza. Attendees are required to wear masks and socially distance. For more information, visit: