On Feb. 14, the Program Board (PB) Concerts and Festivals co-Coordinator, Alex Edelmann ’17, resigned from his role citing a “lack of encouragement” from those affiliated with PB.
Edelmann, who was appointed last spring and officially began serving PB in August, is the second Concerts and Festivals Coordinator to resign this year, preceded by Tom Wakin ’16, who stepped down from the position in September.
Wakin, who had been involved with PB for over two years, cited multiple reasons for resigning.
“I resigned because I did not particularly enjoy the work I was doing, especially after having done it for a while already,” Wakin said. “Additionally, there were other [student organizations] I felt more committed to … Rather than straining myself and the rest of PB, I decided to give up my position to someone better equipped to handle its demands.”
Edelmann, who served without a co-coordinator of Concerts and Festivals most of first semester following Wakin’s resignation, said he was pleased with PB-sponsored concerts this year in general. However, he called for a “more involved hand-off from one year’s [PB] reps to the next.”
Will Siskel ’17, who has overseen Concerts and Festivals with Edelmann since December, says he anticipated his co-coordinator’s decision to resign.
“Alex [Edelmann] and I talked about it beforehand, definitely,” Siskel said. “I’d be lying if I said we didn’t. He wouldn’t blindside me like that.”
Echoing Siskel’s comments, Student Activities Coordinator Lerren Tyler, who joined Macalester and began working with PB last June, said that Edelmann’s resignation did not come as a surprise, but called the matter “unfortunate.”
Edelmann’s decision to step down comes as PB works to finish Springfest preparations, which began late last semester. Scheduled to take place on April 23, Springfest is the largest event PB organizes and hosts each spring.
Members of PB have shifted some responsibilities to assist Siskel in planning Springfest, and remain positive that the festival will be a success.
“Will [Siskel] is currently taking the lead on planning for Springfest and we are having one of our first-year coordinators, Stephanie Rice-Hoffner ’19, step up to fill in,” Tyler said. “We also have Soniya Coutinho ’19 and Michelle Buse ’18 from PB that have volunteered to step up and help with Springfest. Alex [Edelmann] also parted with some suggestions.”
With this support, Siskel expects that his workload on PB will remain largely unchanged through the end of the school year. “[The people helping me] are very capable and smart and good at what they do. My role isn’t going to change that much,” Siskel said. “There’s just two months left in the semester, and there’s no other big event we have other than Springfest.”
In addition, given the work PB has already accomplished, Siskel feels optimistic about securing commitments from musical artists to play at Springfest, including an act to headline the festival.
“Right now we have [a potential headliner] pending in terms of their interest and their fee, but if they decline I already have three other options ready to go,” Siskel said. “We’ve exhausted a lot of artists and different agents, but in terms of how extensive our search has been, both using the student poll and other ways to gauge student interest, I do not see how we could be more thorough.”
Siskel says that he and Edelmann have put a lot of work into planning Springfest and that, despite the latter’s resignation, these efforts will pay off in making the event widely appealing across campus.
“I think that Alex [Edelmann] and I set the bar pretty high for ourselves,” Siskel said. “I’m holding myself to that standard and finding an artist that will be a good match for the student body and the venue itself. ”
PB Chair Blaise Yokoyama ’17 also remains positive about Springfest plans, including those for the non-musical components of the festival. “We’re a little behind our ideal schedule, but are still on track to deliver an awesome event to campus,” Yokoyama said. “We’re also reaching out to student organizations to table at Springfest, running activities like face painting and the ever-popular blender bike.”
Rice-Hoffner, who officially serves PB as a first-year representative, will formally replace Edelmann as co-coordinator of Concerts and Festivals later this spring.