Swedish pop star Gunther and his Sunshine Girls will deliver their message of love at Yale on Feb. 3 in a free concert at Commons Dining Hall.
The Yale College Council approved up to $16,000 of the Committee for Campus-wide Activities’ $25,800 budget last Wednesday to bring the singer to campus for an hour-long performance and a Master’s Tea set to take place on Feb. 2 in Saybrook College, YCC Representative and CCA member Bill Fishel ’08 said. Many students said they are excited about the upcoming performance, but some said they think the Council is spending too much money on the show.
The event was planned and proposed by members of the Saybrook “12-pack” as a sequel to “Guntherpalooza,” a party hosted in Lanman-Wright Hall last year. Mike Lehmann ’08, the primary organizer for the event, said the group first discovered Gunther when they saw the music video for his hit single, the “Ding Dong Song” online.
“We’ve been fans ever since his video came out,” Lehmann said. “It turns out this guy actually exists, and he performs. I think he appeals to people because he’s absolutely ridiculous.”
After the Saybrook students determined that the cost of the event would be well beyond the suite’s budget, they turned to the CCA, a committee created last semester with money raised by the Student Activities Fee to give residential colleges and student groups money to plan new campus-wide events, organizer Jeff Reitman ’08 said.
Because the CCA is only allowed to autonomously grant up to $2,000 for a given event, the committee had to submit the proposal to the YCC, which approved it unanimously with one abstention, YCC Treasurer Emery Choi ’07 said. Although the current cost projection is about $15,000, the CCA requested up to $16,000 in order to cover any unforeseen costs that may arise, Fishel said.
The projected costs for the event include the appearance fee, transportation and accommodations for Gunther and his crew in addition to structural costs for the concert itself, Fishel said. The structural costs include security, concert services, sound and lighting crews, a stage and the rental fee for Commons, he said.
A number of students said they are not familiar with Gunther, but many others said they are looking forward to the upcoming show.
“Gunther’s awesome. I’m excited,” David Price ’08 said. “Anyone can go see some famous performer in a big city, but not everybody can see Gunther.”
While most students said they only know Gunther’s “Ding Dong Song,” others who follow the artist more closely said Gunther has more than just one popular song to offer.
“I’ve always considered myself a fan. I celebrate his entire catalogue, but my personal favorite is ‘Tutti Frutti Summer Love’,” Mike Brown ’06 said. “Gunther’s lyrics mean a lot to me, and his sense of style is unparalleled.”
But some students said they think the YCC is spending too much money on the event and that its resources could be directed toward better causes.
“I would rather they give money to other campus groups,” Rachel Homer ’09 said. “There are better student activities that this money could be going to.”
Clarence Stephen ’08 said he is not a fan of Gunther and thinks spending student money on a performer that some students may not like is unfair.
“Yale resists financial aid reform, totes a growing budget deficit, but still manages to have enough spare cash to secure Mr. Tra-la-la,” Stephen said, referencing a lyric from the “Ding Dong Song.” “What about all the people that don’t want to see him and all the students that don’t really care about him? He’s a loser who had a popular Internet hit, in my opinion.”
Still, Fishel said he thinks that although the concert will be expensive, the number of Yale students it will interest justifies the cost. Because the money for the event is coming directly from students through the Student Activities Fee, the committee wants to reach as many students as possible, he said.
“We want to give people their money’s worth,” he said. “People have really vested their trust in the student government this year. We want to show them where their money is going.”
Fishel said he hopes the event will raise awareness about the CCA and encourage more students to apply for funding in the future. The CCA has funded two events so far this year, leaving the majority of its budget untouched, and the committee will still have approximately $9,000 left after the Gunther event to fund other events this semester, he said.
The event will be free and open to all Yale undergraduates, Fishel said, but the capacity of Commons is limited to 1,700 seats.