Country pop superstar Taylor Swift performed songs from her new album “Red” at an intimate acoustic concert for students from Harvey Mudd College and its four sister Claremont Colleges on Oct. 15 at Bridges Auditorium.
Swift sang Grammy Award-winning hits, shared personal stories and candidly answered questions from students. The concert was the grand prize in the online voting competition “Taylor Swift on Campus,” won by Harvey Mudd College. The performance was recorded for “VH1 Storytellers” and will air at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Nov. 11.
Swift opened with “You Belong With Me” and then told the students how much she was going to enjoy playing for peers in a small venue.
“I’ve been very fortunate to play all these arenas and stadiums,” Swift told the excited crowd, “but tonight is going to be a show like I will never do again and that I’ve never done before.”
But if anyone was feeling fortunate, it was the students.
“I still can’t believe it happened,” said Corinne Druhan ‘14 after the concert. “I think that the moment that the curtain rose and she stepped out from behind the couch was one of the highlights of the night. I loved that she shared a lot of the stories behind her songs that she had never really been public about before.”
Sophomores Travis Beckman and Yeahmoon Hong, both long-time fans, spearheaded the online voting that brought Swift to HMC. Beckman and Hong used social media to engage students and faculty at all five Claremont Colleges, and both were quick to thank voters for collaborating to win the contest.
“This concert was truly the most amazing night of my life,” Beckman said after the show. “Taylor knew my name, gave me a hug and kissed me on the cheek, and I nearly fainted. I will never forget being able to share that moment with everyone there.”
“My favorite part of the concert was when we lifted and waved our hands as we sang “Weee eeeeee are never ever ever, getting back together,” Hong said. “There was so much energy in the room, and we were all singing together and having fun!”
Six-time Grammy winner Swift will release her new album, “Red,” on Oct. 22. She performed the album’s lead single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” during the finale. She also performed songs from her 2010 album, “Speak Now,” which has sold more than four million copies and features the songs “Mine,” “Sparks Fly” and “Ours.”
“I have talked to a lot of people who weren’t Taylor Swift fans at all but still loved the show last night and were surprised by how talented and nice she was,” said Druhan. “A highlight for me was that I met her dad! He gave us guitar picks and told us how happy he was that we won the contest, which was awesome.”