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A Great Big World and Delta Rae to Play Founder’s Day Concert

There ain’t no party like a Penn State party. To celebrate our university’s 159th birthday, the Student Programming Association and Lion Ambassadors is bringing two musical groups: A Great Big World and Delta Rae.

The concert, taking place at 8 p.m. on March 4 in Alumni Hall, is part of the annual Founder’s Day celebration. Entrance for the ticketless event will be granted to those with Penn State student IDs on a first come, first serve basis.

A Great Big World is a two-man group formed by Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino. The two were music business students at New York University, where Axel is said to have convinced Vaccarino to write a song together after hearing him sing. The rest is, as they say, history.

Axel and Vaccarino went on tour together as the opening act for Ingrid Michaelson, Matthew Morrison of “Glee,” and Five for Fighting. It was around then that the duo adopted the name A Great Big World. After receiving funding from a Kickstarter campaign, Axel and Vaccarino released a six-song EP. One of those songs, “This is the New Year,” was performed by the cast on “Glee.”

The pair then signed with Epic Records and released the single “Say Something,” first heard on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” Artist Christina Aguilera heard the single and loved it so much that she asked to be included in a re-recording, which reached No. 1 on iTunes. The single continued to gain popularity throughout the fall of 2013, as A Great Big World performed “Say Something” on “The Voice,” the American Music Awards, and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

A Great Big World’s debut album, “Is There Anybody Out There?”, was released on January 21, 2014. On top of  touring to promote the  album, Axel and Vaccarino are writing a Broadway musical.

Here’s the video of A Great Big World’s most popular song, “Say Something,” featuring Christina Aguilera.

The other musical act coming for Founder’s Day is American folk rock band Delta Rae. The six-member group is made of the Hölljes siblings, Brittany, Eric, and Ian, Grant Emerson, Elizabeth Hopkins, and Mike McKee.

The band’s name comes from a fictional story the Hölljes siblings’ mother told her children about a southern girl named Delta Rae who summons the Greek gods to earth. Delta Rae signed with Sire Records in 2012 and released its debut album “Carry the Fire” shortly after.

The band has received rave reviews from music critics, including the following from Rolling Stone: “If Fleetwood Mac came up in North Carolina, they would resemble Delta Rae.”

Delta Rae has appeared twice on the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and Conan O’Brien’s show. The band also shared a stage with First Lady Michelle Obama during a Democratic rally at UNC Chapel Hill.

Its latest EP “Chasing Twisters” was released last November and voted by iTunes as “Single of The Week.” Delta Rae is currently working on its second album, due early this year.

More details on the concert are to come. but here is a video of “Bottom of the River” to get you excited for Delta Rae.

About the Author

Jessica Tully

Jessica Tully is a first-year law student at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. She graduated in May 2014 with degrees in journalism and political science.

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