Bob Livingston, Gary P. Nunn and Lloyd Maines performed at the fifth annual Lubbock Lights on Thursday, April 25, 2019 in the Allen Theatre at the Student Union Building.

As a part of the Presidential Lecture & Performance Series, Gary P. Nunn, Bob Livingston and Lloyd Maines performed in the fifth annual Lubbock Lights on Thursday, April 25, in the Allen Theater in the Student Union Building.

Hearing stories and songs from the three men, the audience learned of country music’s roots in Lubbock.

Andy Wilkinson, one of the event chairs for Lubbock Lights, said the event started five years ago by former Tech President M. Duane Nellis, because he was interested in creating a tradition for the Lubbock music community. 

“The name Lubbock Lights comes from the alien invasion sighting of 1951,” he said. “Those were lights coming to Lubbock, and all of our Lubbock lights were coming out of Lubbock.”

Once Nellis left, Wilkinson said they were fortunate enough to have Tech President Lawrence Schovanec come in and want to continue the tradition. The President was already a big fan of Lubbock music, he said, and has been a big supporter of Lubbock Lights.

Every year, different types of outreach has been done for Lubbock Lights for the musicians to connect with students and faculty and discuss the creative process of music. They help people understand how to make a living out of something that helps make a life, Wilkinson said.

“We need to be reminded that no matter where we come from, it’s an important place,” he said. “No matter what we’re doing, we’re doing something important.”

There is nothing better than to take the place where people live and figure out there are people from the same place who are known and looked up to around the world, Wilkinson said.

“What it says to me and what it says to anybody who pays attention to it is, ‘If they can do it, so can I,’” he said. 

Sara Sorge, a graduate student from Wichita Falls who works for the Presidential Lecture and Performance Series, said Lubbock Lights is important because Lubbock’s roots are in country music, and a lot of the performers grew up in West Texas. 

Sorge said this event is free for Tech students, which is good for Tech culture, because it helps give out-of-town students the Lubbock background. It is also an enjoyable event of live entertainment that helps give back to Tech.

“These are some pretty famous guys who want to give back to the Lubbock and Tech communities,” she said. “It’s a great way to see students and people from the community come together.”

Jo Moore, the director of the Presidential Lecture and Performance Series, said Lubbock Lights celebrates the musical heritage of the South Plains and the fact that music is an important part of its culture. From Buddy Holly to all of the progressive country artists from this region, music has impacted Lubbock greatly.

It is important for students to know the musical heritage of this place, Moore said, as well as a lot of the artists’ fans who have grown up with this music.

“It was really the front-runner for a whole movement of Texas country,” she said. 

Bob Livingston, Gary P. Nunn and Lloyd Maines were chosen to perform by the event’s coordinators because there was a certain synergy between the performers that worked well, Moore said. 

Moore hopes people who attend Lubbock Lights learn more about the creative process of writing music and why songs are important to a region, as well as hear some stories and celebrate people who have made an impact in the music world and gone on to do amazing things.

“Songs and songwriting is timeless, and this event sort of speaks to that,” she said. 

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