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“Women in Music” series kicks off

Photo via Kaitlyn Walls

The first in the “Women in Music” series of concerts, created by alumnus Jerry Kolb to honor his mother, former Bradley professor Doris K. Kolb, was held at Bradley’s Dingledine Music Center on Sept. 9. The concert hosted two folk-pop bands — The Crane Wives as the opener, and Joseph as the main act. 

While the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based band The Crane Wives, is a four-member group, they focused their performance on the two female co-leads, Emilee Petersmark and Kate Pillsbury.

Instead of their usual bass-and-drum sound, the band chose to perform stripped-down versions of their songs. They performed seven songs in total, including “Queen of Nothing,” “Taking Turns” and “Never Love an Anchor,” the last of which explores the perspective of Petersmark’s mother as she gave her up for adoption at a young age. 

Joseph, a sister trio, is a band from Portland, Ore. that has performed on shows including “Conan,” “CBS This Morning” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” They performed many hits of theirs, such as “White Flag,” as well as unreleased songs titled “The Sun” and “Fireworks”.

Audience members and board members in attendance were excited for the event. 

“I was sitting in the right seat when this came up,” Tom Richmond, CFA development officer for the event, said. “I represent the donor so that the donor says I made an investment in Bradley and that investment pays back to them psychologically.”

Both bands frequently interacted with the crowd, recalling stories of their past tours, future songs and current emotions. By the end of both performances, the audience was on their feet.

“I’ve never heard of either of the bands but loved the concert,” Kaitlyn Skelton, sophomore elementary education major, said. “The Kolb ‘Women in Music’ series has a great meaning behind it and I look forward to their future concerts.”

Throughout the series, Kolb has goals to honor the memory of his mother and many other women in this concert series. 

“I created this concert series because of my mother,” Kolb said. “She was ahead of her time in many ways. My parents graduated from University of Louisville in chemistry looking for where to do their PhD and my father would be the first to admit that my mother was the better student. And they both applied to Harvard. He was accepted and she was told no because they only take one female per year.”

Dr. Kolb has a plaque on the second floor of Olin Hall and the biochemistry and chemistry department created the Kolb Lecture Series to honor her memory. This year, Catherine M. Jackson, associate professor of the History of Science at the University of Oxford, and Tracy Drier, master glassblower for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be featured on Oct 14th.

Kolb created the concert series not only to honor his mother, but to highlight women in a variety of music genres once every semester.

“[It] wouldn’t have to necessarily be a vocalist,” Carl Anderson, associate chair of the music department and professor of music business, said. “It could be anything as long as it was women-focused.”

Kolb, Anderson and many others collaborated on the success of the concert series. 

“I would like to build the reputation of Dingledine and, at the same time, what I’m hoping we do is give access to artists of high caliber,” Kolb said.

The next concert in the “Women in Music” series will take place during the spring. Details on the event will be announced closer then.

If you’d like to check out The Crane Wives or Joseph, they are accessible on social media under the respective handles @thecranewives and @thebandjoseph, and also have websites that can be accessed by entering their handle followed by “.com”.

Dr. Doris K. Kolb left an impression on not only the department of biochemistry and chemistry, but the campus as a whole, and the “Women in Music” series is the latest testament to her legacy. 

“She loved Bradley; she loved Peoria,” Jerry Kolb said. “And I’m trying to find ways to make them [Bradley and Peoria] a more interesting place.”

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