Ben Folds goes virtual for UConn

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The versatile Ben Folds opens Jorgensen Digital Stage’s Spring season on March 4. The show was live-streamed through the Jorgensen Center’s website and people all around the world were able to see Folds play live from his keyboard while also showing glee via the chat function. Photo courtesy of a contributor to the Jorgensen.

On Thursday, the Jorgensen Digital Stage hosted famed musician Ben Folds for a digital concert. Folds, who is best known for his band Ben Folds Five and his solo material, is also the first artistic advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. 

In addition to his musical career, Folds also published a memoir in 2019 titled “A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons.” 

The show was live-streamed through the Jorgensen Center’s website and people all around the world were able to see Folds play live from his keyboard while also showing glee via the chat function.  

As Folds was streaming live from his apartment in Australia, he opened with “The Last Polka” and later played “Kylie From Connecticut” on his keyboard. He even played the song “Emaline” from Ben Folds Five which was well received from the virtual crowd. 

During the latter part of the show, Folds was interviewed by Rodney Rock, director of the Jorgensen Center For Performing Arts. 

“That’s what wrong with humanity these days, we’re coming apart at the seams,” Folds said in response to parents teaching their kids to heckle at a young age. 

Rock then read a question from a fan that is based in Illinois about how Folds became a musician. 

“Well, I became a songwriter and pianist at the same time,” Folds said as he was playing with his keyboard while recalling his past. 

Folds also mentioned how he was making up melodies for songs when he was a kid and claims that as soon as he got to a piano, he wanted to hear the songs he made up. 

“I’m a part-time piano player and I am a part-time hack” joked Foles when going over his history of becoming a musician. 

Next, Folds got asked about what it’s like to create freely. 

“We’re all trying to constantly find what allows us to create freely and to create with some kind of purpose and weight,” Folds replied. 

Another question Folds was asked during the Q&A session was who was his favorite collaboration with another artist. 

“I don’t have a favorite of anything, I have a favorite part of each one. Over the last few years, before the pandemic hit, my day job was bringing people to the Kennedy Center to work with the national symphony orchestra and each one was my favorite,” Folds said. 

One of those guests that he invited to the Kennedy Center was famed singer-songwriter, Sara Bareilles who Folds liked since she was able to work well with the orchestra. He also invited stand-up comedian Sarah Silverman to the Kennedy Center. 

“I love collaborations, they’re all my favorites because you see people’s vulnerable spots like where they’re scared,” Folds said as he was going on about who his ‘favorite’ collaborators have been. 

Those looking to see Folds live in the United States will have to wait until Oct. 15 when he is scheduled to play in Pittsburgh, but if you live in Australia, he will be playing a live show on March 20 in Bimbadgen. 

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