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The New Feel Makes An Impact On THON Weekend For A Fourth Consecutive Year

Few THON performing artists that have been as well-received by the BJC crowd as local indie-rock band The New Feel.

The five-man group has spent its fair share of time on the main stage at THON over the years, winning THON’s Got Talent back-to-back in 2016 and 2017.

Frontman Shawn Fox also performed this year at THON 2018 with his brother after winning the THON Showcase “Hidden Wonders” back in January. Fox also performed as a solo act in the 2015 edition of THON’s Got Talent.

Shawn Fox and his brother perform on the stage at THON 2018. Fox has played at every THON Weekend throughout his four years at Penn State. (Photo: 46 LIVE)

“Being out there with a full band, playing in a stadium like this where I can run around the stage and sing… THON was the first chance I got to do that.” Fox said following his fourth performance in four years on the THON stage. “It really shows that music and entertainment are the backbone of these 46 hours, and to be able to provide that for these dancers and these families is really special.”

The band was not able to perform this year, as drummer Mike D’Avella is out west for an internship with Atlantic Records this semester and fellow band member Nick Gainer is an Entertainment Captain this weekend. However, Fox was still able to find his way onto the main stage at the BJC via the THON “Hidden Wonders” event. The prize for winning the competition? A $2,000 award for his THON organization, business fraternity Phi Gamma Nu.

“This year, being on stage with my brother was special. He never got the opportunity to perform at THON during his time at Penn State, and it’s something we’ll be able to look back on in 50 years,” Fox said.

Despite not being able to see the stage as a whole at THON 2018, the group is not letting the spirit of this weekend go to waste. The New Feel will donate all proceeds from its song “Open Eyes” to THON. The track is available on Apple Music and Spotify.

“Historically, The New Feel has been a THON-oriented band,” Fox said. “A majority of our gigs have been THON or school-related, we aren’t really a bar band.”

“I think you can really hear that in the song ‘Open Eyes.’ One of my favorite lines in the song is ‘all of the dreamers that keep these visions alive’, and I think that concept of the dreamers is directly from playing at THON,” Fox said. “It’s an optimistic feeling, and that’s what our band is all about is getting people clapping along to this happy style of music.”

The new single is available to stream for Apple Music and Spotify listeners, and can be purchased on the iTunes store.

This isn’t the first time that The New Feel has decided to donate the money from a music sale to the Four Diamonds Fund. Fox gave away a majority of the money earned from his debut album “Apricity” in fall 2015 to THON, while D’Avella donated his earnings from his EP “Late Nights” this time last year.

“I played at THON my freshman year, and during that entire following summer I recorded the music for my album,” Fox said. “I reflected on that experience, and realized I had this body of music. Why not put it to a good cause?”

“As a musician, it’s always been about the art over the notoriety,” D’Avella said. “For me, I wanted to raise the stakes by doing something that means a lot to the community. My parents taught me to be kind and generous, and the best way for me to do so has always been through music.”

With canning now phased out of THON fundraising, this out-of-the-box strategy by The New Feel may carve a path for performing artists to match the band’s giving ways in the future.

“If there’s one cause that can bring all 40,000-plus people on campus together, it’s THON,” Fox said. “It’s that selfless act of bringing everyone together to fight for these kids and their families, and bringing that altruistic personality makes this so special.”

“To me, THON means happiness and hope,” D’Avella said. “I’ve always viewed THON weekend as an outlet to provide those two qualities to the people who need it most. It feels amazing to focus on others for a few days and to make other people smile.”

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About the Author

Mitch Stewart

Mitch is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism from Roanoke, Virginia. In addition to being an editor for Onward State, Mitch loves to watch sports, talk about sports on PSU CommRadio, and tries his hardest to avoid the agony that being a Mets fan brings. To contact Mitch, feel free to send him an e-mail at [email protected], and if you really don't value your social media accounts, follow him and his garbage opinions on Twitter @mitchystew.


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