Albion’s first annual Walk the Beat festival showcased local musicians throughout both community and college campus. As people left the Albion College Homecoming football game, they received a map that showed where each of the 50 musical acts were playing. Bands, rappers and choirs alike were set up on Superior Street, East Michigan Avenue and South Hannah Street.
Walk the Beat began in Grand Haven, Michigan, in 2013 and was brought to Albion this year with the work of some Chemistry Chair Cliff Harris and numerous community members.
Students, faculty, staff and community members of Albion all joined to help raise money for literacy and local by purchasing raffle tickets. The tickets entered buyers into a five thousand dollar grand prize. Greek students were encouraged to sell raffle tickets by allowing a portion of the proceeds to benefit their organizations philanthropy.
Walk the Beat will use its revenue to provide music lessons and instruments to children, and funding for Albion’s second October community event, The Big Read, which promotes literacy and community bonding.
Genevieve Marheineke, a senior from Shelby Township, Michigan, said, “I thought it was important to be able to give back to the Albion community and benefit the music and literacy advancements for the children of Albion. Having the opportunity to sell raffle tickets to support S.A.F.E. Place [a Battle Creek domestic violence shelter] and the Albion community at the same time was a great opportunity. ”
As you walked through Albion, you could stop at 25 different locations to enjoy the music the bands had to offer. Each location had two door prizes, which you could enter into if you bought a raffle ticket, and a number you could text to vote for your favorite musicians. There were acts young and old that played a variety of music from blues to hard rock. One guitarist even came down to the street and played his guitar with his tongue.
Talia Oknayan, a sophomore from Northville, Michigan, said “As an education concentrate I work with a lot of students who live in Albion. It is unfortunate that many schools are beginning to cut funding for extracurricular activities like gym and music. Some kids excel in art and music rather than math and science courses. Seeing [grade school students] rap outside the Bohm reminded me of the importance that organizations like Walk the Beat. When students are forced to sit inside a classroom for eight hours without having a break their productivity decreases significantly. Ensuring our children have these resources is a key to their success.”
People came from near and far to participate in Albion’s Walk the Beat. A strong sense of community and support was felt by some of those who walked through the town and saw community members coming together for a single cause.