UPC works, plays at UNL Homecoming concert

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    UPC members and volunteers huddle together before the UNL homecoming concert.
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    The crowd started accumulating for the homecoming concert two hours before its start. Grobeck estimated that 6,000 people attended the concert Thursday night.
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    Country artist Dylan Scott opens the UNL homecoming concert on Thursday night with original songs and covers of country hits.
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    Volunteers Clay Chohon and Nathan Kruetzer dance in front of the stage while working security. “You can feel your teeth rattling,” Kreutzer said.
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    Joe Grobeck (left), the UPC entertainment chair, and Ryan Drvol, the UPC financial manager, promote their organization in between sets at the UNL homecoming concert.
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    Dustin Lynch takes the stage to a crowd of cheering fans at the UNL homecoming concert.
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    UPC members dance backstage to one of Dustin Lynch’s songs at the UNL homecoming concert Thursday night.

By Jordan Kranse, NewsNetNebraska

Two hours before the start of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln homecoming concert on Thursday night, the East Campus Mall was already filling with a restless audience. As the crowd gathered around the stage to listen to the opening act’s soundcheck, they hardly noticed the group donned in matching neon green shirts gathering behind them, waiting to put their months of hard work into action.

“Does everyone in UPC know where they’re going?” Joe Grobeck, the entertainment Chair for the University Program Council, asked the group as they huddled up before moving to their assigned jobs. Grobeck, the head of the event, double-checked that everyone knew their assignment and darted off to his next responsibility.

The concert, which featured country artist Dustin Lynch, was a project the UPC started working on in March of 2014. After months of planning, the concert had finally arrived, and Grobeck felt totally prepared.

“It’s been going really well. We had a lot of people help us out,” he said.

The homecoming concert for UNL is one of the largest annual events for students. Jessica Meis, the UPC president, estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 students would attend.

“The homecoming concert is always fun – everyone looks forward to it,” Meis said. “It’s such a positive event.”

As opening act Dylan Scott took the stage, UPC members and volunteers moved away from their huddle and took their positions for the concert. Their jobs included backstage assistance, security, running the drink station and manning the volunteer table.

Augie McClenahan, a freshman at UNL, was excited to be volunteering as security at the event, even though he wasn’t a fan of country music.

“I think it will be kind of fun to say like, ‘You can’t go there,’” he said. “I always like to try new things.”

Though they were working, the UPC students enjoyed the concert just as much as the audience, dancing and singing along with the music from their stations.

The concert wrapped to a crowd of cheering fans and pleased UPC members. Grobeck said the only major issue during the concert was a girl passing out in the crowd, but UPC and police took care of the issue quickly.

“It went very well, very smooth. I think there were like 6,000 people here, and there were only a few incidents,” Grobeck said. “Everybody did great.”

McClenahan said even though he had to deal with some difficult audience members, the concert was better than he expected.

“I was right in front of the huge basses and it got really loud,” he said. “It was really fun even though I’m a little deaf right now.”

While he enjoyed running the concert, Grobeck is glad it’s over.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” he said. “But I can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s great.”

Joe Grobeck talks about his favorite parts of the UNL homecoming concert

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