Coffman series features folk singer

Rebecca Czaplewski

Amid the busy lunchtime crowd at Coffman Union, some University students found an oasis Tuesday in an hour of calming music from folk singer Barb Ryman.
Ryman, a Minneapolis contemporary singer and songwriter, performed in Coffman’s Fireplace Lounge as part of the weekly Tuesday Noon Performing Art Series.
Bantering with the audience between sets, Ryman performed songs from both her past recordings and her newest release, “Like A Tree.” Ryman, who has twice been nominated for the Minnesota Music Award for Female Songwriter, has been performing since 1991.
She described the creative aspect of songwriting as the most rewarding part of music.
“To move people with music is rewarding,” Ryman said. “It’s almost a spiritual thing; it’s my soul.”
The weekly series is an award-winning program now entering its third season of introducing a diverse array of artists to the University community. The performers are selected by Coffman’s Performing Arts Committee, which is largely comprised of University students.
“Students are the ones who make things fly,” said Dan Asmus, program adviser for Coffman’s Program Council.
Savita Iyengar, member of the performing arts committee, said committee members know exactly what they are looking for — diverse, thought-provoking performers.
Past performances have included an Indian dance demonstration; upcoming activities will include an open-mic performance that will give students a chance to be on stage.
One of the main goals of the committee is to reach as many people with different interests as they can.
“We look for performances that are diverse and interesting, not the same old pop music,” said Iyengar, a junior in chemistry and English.
Andy Engan, a junior majoring in architecture, was one of the many students who stopped and listened to Ryman throughout the noon hour.
“I really enjoy it,” Engan said. “It’s a little break in the day and I like the coffee shop atmosphere. It’s a short escape from reality.”