Music in the Stacks Turns Up the Volume at the Downtown Library

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Pink Sky
Pink Sky

Put down the books and turn up the volume—Music in the Stacks is back at the Grand Rapids Public Library. Once a month, the main library trades its hushed conversation for live music. Past performers have included Hollywood Makeout, Lipstick Jodi and How to Live Together.

Two bands have recently been announced for the fall months. First up is Grand Rapids rock band Valentiger, comprised of Brent Shirey, Scott Rider and Bill Kahler, performing on Thursday, Oct. 18. Although Valentiger has played in unconventional locations, such as parks, yoga houses, churches and even a Waffle House in Tennessee, it’s never played in a library before.

“We have played a few bookstores and record shops while touring,” said Scott Rider, member of Valentiger. “It’s fun to have a quiet space where the crowd is listening. That can also be scary, too.”

Valentiger band members Brent Shirey, Scott Rider & Bill Kahler. Photo courtesy of Valentiger.
Valentiger band members Brent Shirey, Scott Rider & Bill Kahler. Photo courtesy of Valentiger.

The band focuses on intricate, yet accessible music. “We enjoy music that has layers, where listeners can find new and interesting parts after the listen,” Rider said. “We also like to make sure the songs are interesting to listeners that do not want to dive all the way into a recording.”

Because the library is a different space for Valentiger, the band will have to adjust its music a bit to fit the space. “We are one of those bands that have always adjusted our sound to fit the room,” Rider explained. “We have always respected a band that is not willing to compromise, but we have always seen it as a challenge. How can we make this two-minute song that has an upbeat rock vibe fit into this very quiet and delicate space?”

Pink Sky, an indie electronica duo comprised of husband and wife, Ryan and Angelica Hay, will be performing on Thursday, Nov. 1. The duo also has never played at a library, but it has been on the pair’s bucket list since they heard of Music in the Stacks.

“It feels great to be playing at the library,” said Angelica Hay. “We love the idea of playing in non-traditional venues and we’re also really excited that this show will have more of a listening-room vibe, which will give us the opportunity to connect more intimately with our material and audience.  It will also give us the opportunity to play for a totally different crowd, one that might not be able to make it to some of our later sets at a bar or house.”

Indie electronica duo Pink Sky. Photo courtesy of Pink Sky.
Indie electronica duo Pink Sky. Photo courtesy of Pink Sky.

Although neither of the members of Pink Sky is from Grand Rapids, they both have a personal connection to libraries in general. “We both have completed or are completing graduate degrees and our relationship with libraries has been pivotal to our academic success and growth,” Hay’s said. “Ryan [Hay] has an MA in English and used to teach college composition, and I am currently completing an MFA in painting and MA in visual critical studies.”

Similarly to Valentiger, Pink Sky will be adjusting its music for the venue. “We are going to play some of our more contemplative material to match the vibe of the space, which we are super excited about,” Hay said. “It’s a rare opportunity to share some of our more expansive and atmospheric material.”

Both bands will be playing at the Grand Rapids Main Library in the Biography Room. The event is free and open to all ages. Music starts at 7 p.m. for both dates. For more information about Music in the Stacks or either of the groups performing, visit the Grand Rapids Public Library website.

*Main photo courtesy of Pink Sky.

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