Kris Orlowski and the Passenger String Quartet


After what seems like the longest wait, spring has finally arrived. Cozy sunshine and blooming cherry blossoms—with such amazing weather, it is hard not to be reminded of how incredible Mother Nature is, and yet, how we are destroying her amazing gift at the same time.

If you have been a student at BC for a while, you probably are familiar with Earth Week. A week full of activities designed to raise BC’s environmental awareness, the 13th Annual Earth Week (April 16-20) is bringing local songwriter Kris Orlowski and the Passenger String Quartet (Mark Isakson – steel banjo and guitar; Aaron O’Neil – drums; Torry Anderson – vocals, keys and glock; Scott – bass; Orlowski – vocals) on campus on Tuesday, April 10 at 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.

“We chose Kris, his band, and the string quartet because their music really focuses on living well, living conscientiously, and even sustainably,” said Megan Phan, ASG Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative.

Listening to the radio, we wouldn’t find it hard to notice that the majority of music have little to no lyrics about being sustainable or living conscientiously, treading throughout life with care and compassion.

Instead, modern music promotes sex, drugs, violence, and many other things that cloud the mind. Living in a digital world has pulled many of us farther away from nature, disconnecting us for what holds and feeds us in the first place—it is what Phan would call “nature deficit disorder.”

Orlowski has changed this with his songs that are filled with artistically beautiful music and positive lyrics. For instance, one of Orlowski’s songs, “Small is Beautiful,” is inspired by E.F. Schumacher’s book with the same title.

In the book, Schumacher talked about the significance of supporting the local economy because sustainability is interconnected with how we spend our money.

His music, with the addition of the Passenger String Quartet, offers a unique sound that marries the classic musical traditions (classical/baroque/ romantic string quartet arranging) with new folk/rock.

It started off when Sophia Trinh, former ASG Environmental Representative and now ASG Vice President of Pluralism and Student Affairs, met Orlowski and his band at a showcase in Wenatchee for a Council Union and Student Programs (CUSP) Conference.

Phan and Trinh first heard of Orlowski’s music in the spring of 2011; they later got the chance to discuss sustainability and politics with him. In the fall of 2011, Phan invited Orlowski to come to BC and perform.

Before Orlowski and composer Andrew Joslyn finally teamed up to add string arrangements to Kris’s songs, they have already been touring with other projects and talking about collaborating for years. Together, they put on an epic show, which was very well received by the audience and attracted requests for recordings. Orlowski and the Passenger String Quartet’s most recent release includes five songs that are recorded live at the Fremont Abbey.

The band’s most recent releases at Bellinghan, Tacoma and Seattle all sold out, as well as their concert with Allen Stone at Neptune Theater early this year in Jan. 2012. So don’t miss this great opportunity  and join the gang in the cafeteria for some organic music! Merchandise and CDs will also be sold at the event.