Butler University is known for being filled with talented athletes, dancers and pharmacists; but there is another genre of talented people on campus who have been overlooked — musicians. A group of sophomore business students decided it was time for Butler’s musicians to get their spotlight too, so they launched a company to do it, BU Entertainment.
BU Entertainment, formed by Jordan Thomas, Andrew Wallace, Doris Almaraz, Kevin Schwartz and Emmy Scott, serves as talent scouts and booking agents for Butler students. The idea for the business originated from the Butler College of Business (COB) “Real Business Experience” (RBE) course.
All sophomore COB students are required to take the portion of RBE in which they develop plans for businesses of their own creation. At the end of the semester, they present those business plans to a board of local bankers and entrepreneurs to apply for up to $5,000 of start-up capital.
During the practicum portion of the course, which is optional, students run their business.
“We knew there were a lot of talented people on campus who weren’t necessarily majoring in music, but that still deserved to have their art heard,” BU Entertainment founding member Jordan Thomas said.
BU Entertainment’s first clients, Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes (SPACT), a three-man band started by Butler sophomore Brad Dicarlo, fit that bill.
“I live with Brad [Dicarlo] and I met the other band members, Dean Schimmelpfenni and Dustin McKee,through him,” Wallace said. “I hadn’t planned on representing them; they were just hanging out testing some of their new music, but once they started playing I knew we had something special on our hands. I had to work with them,” Wallace said.
After negotiating a contract with the band, BU Entertainment booked SPACT at “Weberfest,” an outdoor concert event that was held at Foster Park in Kokomo, Ind. on Oct. 15, 2011.
At Weberfest, BU Entertainment was responsible for arranging and executing the band’s set-up. The company was also responsible for creating and selling over 200 SPACT CDs.
BU Entertainment’s next big venture was a benefit concert held on-campus on Feb. 4, 2012 for Samaritans Feet, a nonprofit organization that provides shoes to impoverished individuals across the world.
Butler was involved with Samaritan’s Feet last year, when its student run public relations firm, Rise Innovations, was hired to help promote the organization.
Once again, BU Entertainment booked SPACT as their headlining act, with another Butler student band – “Kevin Crafton and the High Tides” – as the opening act. The concert was held in the Atherton Reilly Room and was free of charge. BU Entertainment simply asked for donations at the door to support Samaritans Feet.
The concert attracted close to 250 people, and BU Entertainment, along with Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes, raised close to $300 for Samaritan’s Feet.
As they continue on with their business, BU Entertainment has three projects set in motion: they hope to continue to book more concerts like Weberfest and the Samaritan’s Feet benefit; create a mix CD featuring a variety of Butler artists; and lastly, put together a full extended play record for SPACT.
“We are always looking for new talent,” Thomas said. “We love getting to work with local bands, and the musicians love getting a chance to play; so it’s really a win-win for all.”
Media contact: Sarah Holcombe