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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Singer Simone Gundy shares new songs, covers at free concert

Graphic via Grand Stafford Theater/Instagram

Singer and actress Simone Gundy gave a free concert in Downtown Bryan on Friday as part of a collaboration with the Grand Stafford Theater and Texas A&M’s School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts.

Singer and actress Simone Gundy headlined a concert on Friday, Nov. 3, at the Grand Stafford Theater, collaborating with Texas A&M’s School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts.

The concert was free to the public, featured a mix of covers and showcased her new song, “Never More.” Gundy paired the performance with a guest lecture at A&M and an interview with KBTX.

Gundy is a Houston-based performer best known for starring on “The Voice” in 2016 and leading “Sister Act” and “Rent” with the Theatre Under the Stars. Grand Stafford tends to showcase local musicians. However, assistant general manager Beth Swarbrick said a happy coincidence led to them booking the more-recognized Gundy, who has lots of original work.

“She was here by chance recently,” Swarbrick said. “She just happened to come in, and they had a photoshoot going on, and she met the right people at the right time, so we were able to book her.”

The concert hall regularly works to connect musicians with A&M fine arts, which meant Gundy and Grand Stafford general manager Robert Hitchcock spent the day of the performance guest lecturing, singing and meeting students.

“Our general manager is actually playing on stage with her,” Swarbrick said. “He plays piano and keyboard. It’s really cool because the band is just a bunch of borrowed band members coming together for Simone Gundy’s singing.”

Because the concert took place during First Friday, Grand Stafford propped its doors open, spilling music out and welcoming patrons in.

Local artist Savannah Fort spent First Friday running an art booth while painting multiple works. She said the night’s main takeaway was how supportive the crowds were of musicians and artists, and that she tries to pass some of the support along.

“I like that everybody comes together; everybody’s really nice and appreciative,” Fort said. “I love it whenever people come up and they’re like, ‘I would love to do that but nobody would buy it.’ I tell them I thought the same thing. Just gotta start putting it out there and people will buy it.”

The performance finished with Gundy’s original work, specifically her newest song. “Never More” was a collaboration with her husband inspired by her personal life.
“It was written between me and my husband, who is also an amazing singer and an amazing keyboard player — he’s just amazing all around — and he helped me write and produce it,” Gundy said during Friday’s KBTX interview. “It’s pretty much about everyone before him.”

Two A&M students, mechatronics senior Cougar Stiles and poultry science junior Elizabeth de Hoyos, said they were there as First Friday attendees since they’re fans of the festival.

“There’s a lot of good music and art,” Stiles said. “It’s nice to see everyone communicate and be able to show off everything they’re working on.”

The duo said they wish more people knew how affordable First Friday is and what a nice feeling the event had.

“I like interacting with people here,” de Hoyos said. “They tell you all their stories and if you ask them about something they tell you all about it. I’ve heard the musicians playing a lot of Latino music, and Día de los Muertos just passed, and I really appreciated that. I also like seeing all the little kids and the dogs and the family atmosphere.”

Hitchcock told KBTX he and Grand Stafford hope Gundy and other performers will draw future musicians to the community, making Bryan-College Station a hub for the arts.

“We just want to open the doors so that everyone can come on in, without having to pay, and just be part of the culture,” Swarbrick said.

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About the Contributor
Amy Leigh Steward
Amy Leigh Steward, Assistant Life & Arts Editor
Amy Leigh Steward is a neuroscience student from Boerne, Texas. She joined the Life & Arts desk as a writer in Fall 2023 and has been the assistant Life & Arts editor since January 2024. Outside of The Battalion, she's involved in MSC Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow, TAMIN Building Researchers and Innovators in Neuroscience and Society, and the Society of Undergraduate Biology Students. After graduation, Amy plans to pursue an MD-PhD in neuroscience and go into research, academia and scientific communication.
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