Jordin Sparks, Phil Vassar to perform on campus May 8

Jordin Sparks will perform May 8 in the OEC auditorium from 10 p.m. to midnight. (Associated Press photo)
Jordin Sparks will perform from 10 p.m. to midnight May 8 in the OEC auditorium. (Associated Press photo)

STAR announced Thursday that “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks and country singer Phil Vassar will headline the spring concert Saturday, May 8.

Chuck Wicks will open for Vassar at the outdoor concert, which is from 7 to 9 p.m. on the Lot O parking lot on South Campus. Sparks will perform from 10 p.m. to midnight in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium.

The price tag for bringing Vassar and Wicks to campus is about $60,000, said Jese Ledbetter, assistant director of Campus Life. Ledbetter said Sparks will cost $50,000.

For senior John Busch, this year will feel a lot like 2007, the first time Vassar played at St. Thomas.

“Phil Vassar was the first country concert I’ve ever been to and one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to,” Busch said.

Country music fan Patrick Sullivan, a freshman, said he’s “down to have a country singer” come to campus.

Phil Vassar headlines the outdoor concert on South Campus from 7 to 9 p.m. (AP Photo/Don Petersen)
Phil Vassar is set to sing from 7 to 9 p.m. at the outdoor concert on South Campus. (AP Photo/Don Petersen)

As for Sparks’ performance, senior Bill Bergmann is excited about possibly catching up with an old acquaintance.

“She’s actually a nice lady as I met her at a Timberwolves game,” Bergmann said. “But her music isn’t my style. It’s good, but it isn’t my style.”

Junior Adam Holberg doesn’t vibe with Sparks’ musical genre either.

“I don’t think I’m going to attend her concert,” he said. “In my group of friends and on Facebook, when the last few candidates came out, there was a lot of dissatisfaction.”

But freshman Elle Haumersen is looking forward to seeing Sparks.

“I like Jordin Sparks because she has a great voice,” she said. “She’s from ‘American Idol,’ so she’s good.”

Busch is an even bigger fan of Sparks.

“I am a very big ‘American Idol’ fan,” he said. “I watched every episode when she won that year, and I was almost in tears when she won. I can’t wait. I have a crush on her.”

Vassar’s outdoor concert is free for St. Thomas students and has no limit on attendees. Six hundred free wristbands to attend Sparks’ indoor concert will be available at noon May 4 in the Box Office for St. Thomas undergraduate students only.

Shane Kitzman can be reached at

28 Replies to “Jordin Sparks, Phil Vassar to perform on campus May 8”

  1. How awesome! I am almost jealous of my daughter — what an opportunity! Even is you don’t think you like country music, Phil Vassar is an awesome performer and composer. This is one you don’t want to miss!

  2. Anything is better than Justin Bieber, but still. This is weaksauce. Bring Jason M-Raz back!

  3. If you don’t like who they’re bringing in to perform, why wouldn’t you go to the committee who is putting the event on give them a suggestion? Personally, I’m excited for both of these concerts.

  4. Fantastic.  Another couple of concerts I won’t be going to because of a complete lack of interest in the artists and their genres.

  5. There are a variety of factors that go into choosing the artists. If you would like more information on this process or have a suggestion, please feel free to e-mail Thanks!

  6. Awesome lineup! Country and pop… there’s a bit of variety – but I’d suggest sharing comments to STAR since they choose a lot of this. If ya don’t like it – let them know! I’m jealous of the artists the students have had lately. You’re all very lucky ~ especially w/ the new buildings going in too! Try to remember all of the awesome things we have as students.

  7. Phil Vassar is Awesome! Im glad were having country singers! And we should for sure bring Justin Bieber here and Justin Timberlake. There is no way you can bring someone to campus that everyone is going to like.

  8. I would give my entire life savings and my first born child if that could get Justin Timberlake to play here.

  9. From an anonymous source: Lauren Webber is an admissions counselor and her comment should be discredited as propaganda coming from the school.

    I still love Justin Timberlake.

  10. The bigger issue here is that, for the quality of artists we are getting, the price tag is astronomically too high.

  11. I would also like to second Lauren Weber’s comment. As students, we are fortunate to have great facilities, wonderful faculty, and a plethora of events brought to campus. If this particular event doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t attend. Bringing concerts to campus is something extra- it doesn’t need to be done. Also, I think STAR has done a good job of trying to please everyone. There has been a good variety of campus events planned by STAR, who put a ton of effort into making sure there are on campus entertainment options. Also, Annie- Lauren’s comment is not “propaganda coming from the school.” She is simply giving advice both as a recent alum (she graduated last May) and also as a staff member at St. Thomas. We ARE lucky to be getting the new buildings, among many other things. 

  12. Thanks Patrick! Yep – I’m an alumni… and current grad-student too. So yep – I love it at St. Thomas – love my job here, but I do know a thing or two about it and campus life having spent five years now here. Anyway, just putting in my two-cents as a current student too. Can’t help it if I feel more optimistic I guess, but I really did enjoy my time at UST and everything that came with it…. Pretty harsh statement there, Annie – but I can understand if you are passionate about your view point and if mine really offended you personally.

  13. I appreciate the variety that STAR is putting forth by bringing in a country singer (apparently country is popular on north campus, I’m a music major that has a dorm on north but doesn’t really ever leave the music building), but the price tag is astronomical! I am employed by STAR as a sound tech, and every time I’ve talked to a STAR intern, they’ve always told me that the price tag cuts off around $50,000 for the night. I feel like we could’ve gotten someone much more popular for $110,000! But I suppose on the brighter side, we’re bringing in 3 separate acts for people to visit throughout the night.

  14. I would like to hear how the process works. I remember several years ago they had a survey that they sent around. But, that survey had artists on it which we had absolutely no chance of getting to come to UST.

    Also, I’m interested in what the other options were. $110,000 is a huge amount of money. You would think we could have had someone really good for that amount of money.

    I think what bugs me and my friends is that as seniors, we saw Phil Vassar 3 years ago. We’ve also had someone comparable to Jordin Sparks for the past several years…

    I understand STAR doesn’t have to bring concerts to campus. But, if we are going to be spending such a high amount of the student body’s money on these things, there absolutely needs to be a vote. If there is indeed a vote, there needs to be more publicity for it as nobody I’ve talked to is aware of one.

  15. I wish there was more transparency with the artist selection and cost. I’m sure there are students on campus who are delighted that Jordan Sparks and Phil Vasaar are coming here, but I feel that for the amount of money, UST could have drawn in more well-known artists than an American Idol 6 winner. I did a simple Google search and found a website that lists many artists that are far cheaper and more popular. ( Otherwise, I’d like my activity fee back.

  16. I’m sorry – but I believe a few people on this comments thread need to quit drinking the kool-aid.

  17. I couldn’t help but notice that as I passed by the sizable line after class, at about 11:40, the large majority of those waiting in line for tickets were female, probably a good 80-90%. I have nothing wrong with that, there are some bands that have primarily male followers, some bands that have primarily female followers, and some bands where the gender balance is pretty close. The problem I have is that over the past few years I’ve been here, most of the concerts offered have been with bands/artists with larger (at least in my mind) female followings e.g. Jason Mraz, Michelle Branch, Jordin Sparks, Eric Hutchinson. Personally none of the artists recently offered have made we want to attend the concerts. It would be nice, in my opinion, to get a more balanced/diverse attention to music preference for the concerts. I do realize that there is no possible way to please everyone, but it would be great to see a little more variation. Thanks.

  18. Lauren, Patrick, STAR interns, and other St. Thomas employees:

    From my understanding, STAR’s purpose is to create programs on campus to enhance our student community. Their Fall and Spring concerts are the biggest events they do all year, both with their attendance and price-tags. STAR always asks for students’ inputs for their other events, but I feel like we’re completely shut out of these two, which is really frustrating when you consider their combined impact compared to STAR’s usual events.

    What really gets my goat with this particular event is a combination of the choice of artists (I know that’s just my opinion), the six-digit bill, the lack of student voice, and the fact that KUST had planned to bring in Brother Ali and one or two other acts for literally less than a tenth of Sparks and Vassar. The end-of-the-year Brother Ali show was kiboshed despite the available funds and a better student-interest-versus-price ratio.

    In the future, I would really like to see more transparency when it comes to the nomination and final decision process regarding these shows and more involvement with the CURRENT student community. Our money pays for this, and I’d rather have it spent on something I care about.

  19. Phil Vassar rocked last night, you guys missed out on one heck of a show, its too bad! Well worth the money spent to bring him here!

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