“The Voice” finalist visits WSU


Natalie Tyler

(Left to Right) Guitarist Eric Warner, Chris Kroeze and violinist, Natalie Murphy perform in Somsen’s Harriet Johnson Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 20. Kroeze’s concert began at 6 p.m. and tickets were open to the public, the event was hosted by UPAC.

Caitlin Goette, News Reporter

The 2018 runner up of “The Voice,” Chris Kroeze, performed at Winona State University on Friday, Sept. 20, during Family Weekend in Somsen’s Harriet Johnson Auditorium.

This event was open for all members of campus and their families to enjoy.

Tickets were able for purchase both in advance and at the doors, and were $5 for students and their families and $15 for Winona State employees.

Over 100 Winona State staff, students and family members attended the show. Kroeze even had members from his hometown, Barron, Wisconsin, come watch him perform.

Johnson Street Underground, a local four-man acapella group created in 2018, were the opening act for the event. Members of the band included Matt Schultz, Seth Flatten, Charlie Opatz and John Chernega.

The group performed songs such as “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.

The energy of the crowd only increased as Kroeze got on stage, where he sang both original songs and covers. He had nearly the whole crowd singing and clapping along with him at several points throughout the concert.

Kroeze performed one of his most recent originals, “Your Heart Aint’ Here,” which was written by one of his band members, Natalie Murphy.

Winona State is just one of the many stops on Kroeze’s tour. He has performed more than 200 shows within the past year, across the United States as well as oversees.

This event was made possible by the University Programming Activities Committee (UPAC), which is a club at Winona State. They provide a wide variety of both on- and off-campus events for students.

Mary Rooney, junior elementary education major, is the director of UPAC. As the director, she oversees the club as a whole and does the “behind-the-scenes” work.

Initially, UPAC had decided they were not going to host any more concerts. But when the opportunity to host Kroeze at Winona State presented itself, UPAC instantly jumped at it.

“It’s kind of in between a coffee house and spring concert sized show, we really couldn’t pass up the deal,” Rooney said.

UPAC was able to get into contact with Kroeze through Tracy Rahim, Associate Director of Student Activities and Leadership and UPAC’s advisor.

Rahim is also from the small town of Barron, Wisconsin, which helped her connect with the singer.

“It just came across that he was willing to do a show at Winona State,” Rooney said.

The Concerts Director, Rachel Simon, a junior majoring in social work, specializes in the organization of musical events like the concert.

Out of everything, Simon said she was most excited that, “[I]t’s one of the bigger shows that we have done in a while.”

Natalie Tyler
Chris Kroeze, runner-up of season 15 of NBC’s “The Voice,” performed in Somsen’s Harriet Johnson Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 20. Hosted by UPAC for the Winona community, the performance was open to the public and was opened by Winona’s acapella group, “Johnson Street Underground.”