Sauder Concert Hall kicked off the 2022 Goshen College Performing Arts Series on Friday with a concert by brother-sister duo Watkins Family Hour and soloist Courtney Hartman.The first part of the show was run by Colorado-born artist Courtney Hartman. The folk singer and guitarist wowed the crowd with her talent, performing music she had written over the years and songs from her second solo album, “Glade.” While it was her first time on the Sauder Concert Hall stage, Hartman said that she hopes to return for more performances in the future.
After an intermission, the audience’s anticipation finally came to an end as Sean and Sara Watkins walked onto stage. Both members of the sibling duo had performed on Sauder Concert Hall’s stage before – Sean with Grammy Award-winning group Nickel Creek and Sara with Nickel Creek and all-female trio I’m With Her. The duo filled Sauder with sounds of bluegrass and folk music. They played songs from their most recent album, “Brother-Sister,” along with many covers and even some songs that they played when they were a part of Nickel Creek.
As the Watkins siblings tuned up their instruments in between songs, Sara commented on the reverberation of the concert hall: “Wow. What a room.”
After songs from “Brother-Sister,” Courtney Hartman took the stage again to play alongside Watkins Family Hour. The audience was on the edge of their seats as Sara played the fiddle and Sean and Courtney impressed with their guitar skills. All three performers also amazed the crowd with their vocal talent.
Throughout the concert, the audience responded with applause, cheers and even laughter. Watkins Family Hour received a standing ovation after the final song, and although the siblings exited the stage, they soon returned – the audience wanted more, and Sean and Sara were ready to keep going.
Sara asked: “What do you guys want to hear us play?” The crowd responded, and after the siblings had a huddle, they played two more songs for the audience. After a second standing ovation, the performers had officially finished the last stop on their tour.
While the show attracted quite a crowd on Friday, COVID-19 did lower the number of tickets that people purchased for the event. Though the Music Center does not need to limit the number of people that are able to attend events at this time, Mia Graber, a sophomore box office employee, said: “We experienced a high number of people calling and emailing to cancel their spots at the show due to positive cases, exposures and fears of the Omicron variant causing case numbers to rise in the area.”