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Project aims to connect ND with local music scene

| Sunday, January 26, 2014

A benefit concert on Friday will kick off The Bridge Project, a new initiative to increase connections between members of the Notre Dame and South Bend communities.
The Notre Dame Student Expo, featuring five student bands and one South Bend group, will take place at 6 p.m. at The Pool, a venue located in the Central High/Stephenson Mills apartments.
According to its Facebook page, The Bridge Project is an effort to increase interactions and friendships between the South Bend community and its college campuses by exposing students to the local music scene.
Junior Will Murray, a student founder of initiative, said the idea for the project arose from his and others’ experiences studying abroad, where he said other universities’ campuses were more integrated into their cities.
“They [students studying abroad] really just had an amazing connection with the city they were staying in and the campus they were on, just really benefitting from that connection and having a lot more to do on the weekend that Notre Dame really doesn’t have,” Murray said. “We weren’t sure there was a lot to do in South Bend, but sure enough there is, and we’ve been exploring it through our contacts in the community.”
Murray said he collaborated with several other students and two community members, Pool operators Dena Woods and Lt. Gus Bennett, to create and maintain a Facebook calendar that comprehensively lists upcoming concerts and events. He said that donations from Friday’s concert would go towards developing the calendar further.
“There’s tons of awesome bands in South Bend that no one really knows about,” Murray said. “Now it’s allcentralized, and people will be able to explore that and really benefit.”
Dena Woods, an operator of The Pool who is working with The Bridge Project, said she hopes the Students Expo will bring the initiative to students’ attention and encourage them to explore local music.
“Every time I’ve interacted with students, they don’t seem to know what we’re doing,” she said. “It’s a bit harder for students to find out about these events because they’re so isolated … we want to expose them to the space and … create an awareness of what’s going on downtown.”
Woods said The Bridge Project is currently focused on developing the music scene, but the group hopes to expand into other areas, such as art, film and poetry.
“Right now the easiest way, I think, to connect with college students is the music scene, so that’s definitely the driving force behind it, but we’re certainly looking to open it up to many more events,” said James Bachmayer, another founder of the project. “I just went to the farmer’s market yesterday, actually, and brought a couple friends, and there was a nice post on the website. When I was there a lot of vendors were talking about these events that aren’t music-related that are happening throughout the month, so we definitely want this to be a catalyst for future growth.”
Murray said he hopes the concert will encourage students from all college campuses in South Bend to get involved with the project and apply their majors to aspects of the campaign, such as graphic design. He said he also wants students to attend events on the calendar and form bands to perform at local venues.
“Once we pop this bubble and get the connection flowing, we can just accomplish so many things,” he said.
For more information on The Bridge Project and the Students Expo, visit the group’s Facebook page or contact them at thebridgeprojectSB@gmail.com.

About Emily McConville

Emily McConville is a news writer and photographer for the Observer. She is a senior studying history and Italian with a minor in journalism. She is from Louisville, KY and lives off-campus.

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