Four students, along with Abilene ISD’s Revolution Strings, will perform in the second annual TEDxACU Feb. 27.
In keeping with the theme “20 Questions,” each performance will answer a thought-provoking question. Student performers include Micah Bynum, senior communications major from Honolulu, Hawaii, and Chelsea Johnson, senior marketing major from Sugar Land. Wes Robbins, junior sociology major from Houston, along with Aaron Cervantes, sophomore management major from McAllen, will perform an original song with vocals and guitar.
Dr. Lauren Lemley, director of TEDxACU, said she asked Revolution Strings to participate as a way of involving the Abilene community, which is one of the goals of TEDxACU.
“They’re presenting something in a new and innovative way,” Lemley said. “They’re really changing perceptions of instrumental stringed music.”
Revolution Strings, made up of students from Abilene and Cooper High Schools, combines jazz, Celtic, country and other styles in their music, according to its website. The group includes 12 violinists, three violists, a guitarist, and two cellists.
Robbins said when he was a senior in high school he used to watch TED talks all the time.
“I realized that was the real learning that I wanted to do,” Robbins said.
Now he will participate in the international non-profit’s local event. TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design, has national and international events, but any event titled TEDx is a locally organized event.
“How cool is it that I’m able to connect with TED in this way?”Robbins said.
Because he doesn’t write songs often, Robbins said TEDxACU will give him good motivation to write a song. The song is about wrestling with uncertainty.
“Everyone wants to have somewhere to stand, some sort of solid ground,” Robbins said. “What are we holding onto too tightly that we need to reexamine or let go of? At it’s core the idea behind the song is that we shouldn’t fear uncertainty and we should live more hands-open.”
Robbins said he was inspired by M. Scott Peck, author and psychologist, who said, “If we know exactly where we’re going, exactly how to get there, and exactly what we’ll see along the way, we won’t ever learn anything.”
Robbins and Cervantes play in a singer/songwriter style, influenced by acoustic and folk music. Robbins said this is an opportunity for him to get his music recorded, since every TEDxACU performance and talk will be recorded. He said he plans to use this video when people ask for recordings of his music.
TEDxACU student ambassadors will sell tickets in the campus center after chapel until they are sold out. Tickets are $35 for students. The event will take place Saturday Feb. 27 in Fulks Theatre.
When attendees register for a ticket, they are required to put down three words that describe them. These words will be printed on their nametags as a conversation-starter.
Another unique element of this year’s TEDxACU is virtual reality from Google Cardboard. TEDxACU will provide cardboard cutouts so that audience members can make their own virtual reality platforms. Once it’s completed, they can download apps and insert their phones into the platform to get 360 visuals.
Lemley said this activity, called an Activation, will provide audience members with a way of applying thought-provoking ideas.