UH Students Go Inside Bon Jovi's Space-Age Stage

As if he hadn't done enough already, we can add philanthropy to the list of John Bon Jovi's accomplishments. Already world renowned for his music, the rock icon and No. 1 worldwide touring act of 2010, according to Billboard and Pollstar, is out to help people, and a lot of them, at that.

Among those people are college students, eager to learn a trade in the industry in which Bon Jovi makes a living.

Tuesday morning, a group of students from the University of Houston were given the opportunity to go backstage before the all-but-sold-out show, watch the crew set up and gain firsthand knowledge of how these kind of events go from empty arena to full house.

Students from two colleges were present: A group from the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, who came to watch Bon Jovi's road crew set up lights, sound and video, and students from the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Amanda Strudler, Toyota Center's assistant general manager, began teaching Stadium and Arena Management classes at UH only a year ago, and assisted in making Tuesday's event possible.

"It's all about timing," Strudler said of the tour. "Who knows? One of [the students] may meet someone and hit it off, and they may have an opening."

While it's rare for a fledgling graduate to land a job somewhere as prestigious as the Toyota Center just after graduation, it does happen. And even if they aren't offered a job, it can prove beneficial in the future.

"And its also a chance for them to network," Strudler said.

Students weren't the only ones getting a treat, however. The technicians, too, thoroughly enjoyed the chance to impart some behind-the-scenes knowledge.

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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever