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The JR Mangan Band And Olivia Jones Rocked Out At The BJC

The JR Mangan Band, accompanied by singer Olivia Jones, took to the Bryce Jordan Center stage to revitalize a crowd going through a Saturday slump. Jones, a Penn State senior, performed at THON for the first time. She described it as, “the most amazing experience she’s ever had.”

The songs played by the band ranged from classic rock, to R&B, to country. They started the show off with the fast-paced and recognizable “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore. Spectators in the stands loved it, and you could see everyone’s signs and letters bumping up and down to the beat. They brought a surge of life back to a tired BJC as everyone sung along with the lyrics. The next song was “Ex’s and Oh’s” by Elle King. The crowd reacted well to this much more recent pop hit — when Jones paused and pointed to the crowd, they shouted the lyrics back with ease.

The following song, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen was a crowd favorite. Sung by the members of the JR Mangan Band, the classic rock contrasted well with the pop hits. While the rest of the band played and sung, Jones kept moving and continued to hype up the crowd.

JR Mangan Band and Olivia Jones

The band wrote a song specifically for THON, called the “THON Song,” which they performed for the first time on Saturday. The chorus said it best: “For the kids we dance, for the kids we dance, the whole night long.”

After the fast-paced “THON Song,” the band slowed it down with “Stand By Me,” by Ben E. King. Jones sounded great as she hit all the high notes with ease and had the whole crowd singing along. Likewise, the live electric guitar shredding through the BJC was refreshing after hearing numerous pop hits.

Next, Jones rocked out to “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5, and then the JR Mangan Band told everyone in the BJC to “Slide” with the Goo Goo Dolls. As everyone knows, sliding is already very popular during THON.

After this, the crowd was very excited to hear, “Rich Girl” by Hall and Oats. As they started singing the first few verses, the crowd was audibly singing along. At the end of this jam, Jones said, “I’m glad you all share my guilty pleasure.”

JR Mangan Band and Olivia Jones


The JR Mangan Band then played the ultimate crowd favorite — “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, which they dedicated to all the alumni both in the BJC and watching from far away. As you can imagine, the crowd was overjoyed to sing, “Sweet Caroline…BUM BUM BUM,” all together.

Before singing their next song, Jones said, “This next one is almost too big for me, so I’ll need your help. But I think you’ll know it.” Following that statement, she sang a powerful rendition of Adele’s, “Hello,” which the crowd did help her out with, especially during the chorus.

The JR Mangan Band then “regressed to the 80’s” when Jones sang, “Sweet Child O’ Mine ” by the Guns and Roses. After than, they continued their 80’s regression with “Take On Me’ by A-ha. The crowd loved this 80’s anthem, singing the high notes in the chorus back at the band.

Jones described the next song as, “another guilty pleasure song that I know we all love,” and as her, “go-to country song.” She was right, as the crowd immediately recognized “What Hurts The Most” by the Rascal Flatts. Country music is much more rare during THON, but everyone seemed to appreciate it. After Jones sang, “What hurts the most…,” she paused and allowed the crowd to scream, “..was being SO CLOSE.”

Following this, the band belted out, “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. This one was certainly less recognized by the crowd, but the 70’s fans in the audience certainly enjoyed it.

The band ended their performance with “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood. Jones was inspired to sing this one because Carrie Underwood was, “the first performance I saw at the BJC.” All in all, the band did a great job performing a wide range of songs that would be sure to please everyone. Whether it was classic rock or country, everyone was singing along.

About the Author

Katie Klodowski

Katie is a senior from Pittsburgh, PA and a retired editor at Onward State. Currently, she works as a staff writer. True to her hometown, she is a fan of Steel City sports but also uses her ballet and music training to be a tough critic of all things artsy. The fastest ways to her heart are through pizza, sushi, and a solid taste in music (this means no Taylor Swift). To be constantly razzle-dazzled, follow her on all social media forms at @KatieKlodowski


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