In addition to the weekend’s seemingly endless lineup of literature, speakers and vendors, multiple Trojans are set to hit the USC Stage for a slew of musical performances throughout the weekend. Here are a few of the current and former students performing at the festival.
SPIRIT OF TROY
On Saturday, the USC Trojan Marching Band, also known as The Spirit of Troy, will kick off the festival. There are more than 300 students involved in the Marching Band, making it USC’s largest spirit organization and a community staple at sporting events.
The Marching Band’s kickoff will be followed by a showcase of students from the Kaufman School of Dance. Kaufman is known for its innovation and versatility, offering instruction in a variety of dance styles. The student dancers will perform dynamic, self-choreographed pieces.
THE TROJAN MEN
Taking the stage after the dancers will be The Trojan Men, USC’s only all-male a cappella group. Established in 2005, this musical group brings its upbeat Trojan spirit to every performance.
The last USC alumnus on Saturday’s slate is R&B artist Ashley Chanel. A class of 2016 graduate, Chanel received a dual degree in music industry and jazz studies from the Thornton School of Music. An experienced performer, Chanel will get the chance to perform solo and showcase pieces from her debut album, “#Rightnow” this weekend.
Among Saturday’s lineup is indie rocker Maddie Ross, a Los Angeles native and class of 2014 graduate whose music focuses on themes of love and queerness. Ross was named “The Best DIY Rock Star You’ve Never Heard Of” by Billboard in 2017 and has been a rising star in L.A.’s music scene since releasing songs like “Loners” and “Tell Your Friends.”
After the Trojan Marching Band starts Sunday’s performances, several Thornton students will share the stage with the Urban Voices Project. This project offers musical education and performance opportunities to locals who have dealt with homelessness, unemployment or mental health issues. In 2018, it collaborated with Thornton students to form The Trailblazers, a group that will perform several original choir arrangements during its set.
Jensen McRae, a senior majoring in popular music performance, will perform Sunday afternoon. A first-time performer at the festival, the singer-songwriter will play entirely original songs during her set. She described her music style as a folk-pop-soul hybrid, and she said she’s often compared to Tracy Chapman. She draws her personal inspiration from artists like Sara Bareilles, Bon Iver and John Mayer but also pulls from R&B and soul music. Although she is new to the USC stage, she is a long time patron of the Festival of Books.
The Festival will be closed out by the SoCal VoCals, USC’s premier co-ed a cappella group. Established in 1995, the VoCals comprise 19 talented vocalists and boast four International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella titles. In addition to releasing eight studio albums, the group has performed at some of the largest music halls and auditoriums in the nation. Their energy, experience and charisma will finish out the festival with a bang.