UEE staff celebrate Motown, culture, and community

Digital display welcoming UEE staff to The Soulful Sounds of Motown event at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

On Saturday, February 10, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center was filled with over 900 guests beaming with anticipatory excitement. Guests knew they were about to relish in some exceptional performances of a special genre of music: Motown. “A Tribute to Motown” was planned to commemorate the positive impact that Motown music has instilled in our society.

To celebrate this special event and curate a culture of community, the University Enterprises and Events (UEE) division along with Notre Dame Human Resources and the Office of Institutional Transformation worked together to ensure the event was accessible to UEE staff. There was a hosted pre-show reception for many of its employees where Three Leaf Catering provided delicious desserts such as cheesecake, tiramisu, and more. The event was a great chance for UEE team members to enjoy conversation and community before a stunning show.

“Finding ways to celebrate culture and community for our division has been a priority,” said Anne Griffith, vice president of University Enterprises and Events. “This performance event was a great opportunity to work with key campus partners and provide a unique experience for our staff. I’m excited to work on future endeavors where we can amplify accompaniment and inclusivity.”

The sold-out show exceeded high expectations. The event started out with a pre-show segment featuring a lively DJ, playing some of the biggest hits in Motown music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and on. Guests came dressed in iconic Motown looks and filled the room with energy. This event was not sedentary—singing, dancing, and clapping were highly encouraged, and many did not shy away.

After the energetic pre-show session, the hosts, Kelly and Gino, made their appearance and welcomed the guests to a night of Motown. A number of talented artists then took the stage to perform some of the most well-known songs in Motown. Hits such as “Dancing in the Street, “Upside Down,” “I Can’t Help Myself,” “Baby Love,” “Please Mr. Postman,” and more were presented. Last but not least, the final song performed was the iconic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” All of the artists took the stage and paid a final homage to all that Motown means.

Impactful is the perfect adjective to describe this show. Not only was the music inspirational, the meaning behind Motown music and all that was discussed was thought-provoking and impressive. At the conclusion of the show, topics like the Cultural Collective were discussed. The Cultural Collective is an initiative of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center to support and invest in local musicians within the South Bend community. Additionally, this event was a perfect way to celebrate Black History Month. Being able to pay homage to famous Motown artists like Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and more who paved the way for many in the music and entertainment industry was a great way to show honor to some of the names that are celebrated during this month. Motown and music is a great way to bring people of all different ages and backgrounds together and truly commemorate the positive impact Motown music brings.

Attendees at a UEE reception held prior to A Tribute to Motown at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center
A woman and child attend a UEE reception held prior to A Tribute to Motown at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center