Local Singer, Songwriter Performs at USAO March 28
CHICKASHA -- Around the University of Science and Arts, Michael Bendure is known primarily as the " news guy." But the Chickasha resident is out to prove he's more than that. Bendure takes the stage with a solo concert March 28 in USAO's Te Ata Memorial Auditorium.
Beginning at 7:30 p.m., Bendure will perform original songs with his acoustic guitar and voice. The concert is free and open to the public.
" I love lots of different styles of music," Bendure said, " but my favorite is acoustic, laid back music."
That, according to Bendure, is the recipe for his particular brand of music.
" I consider my music to be acoustic folk pop with some nostalgia thrown in the mix," he said.
Bendure, a 1999 USAO graduate, returned to the campus in 2006 as a public relations writer and designer. During the last two years, he's served as head of the university's news bureau, a job that includes promoting university events.
" I find myself in a unique position," Bendure said. " Like the mechanic who works on other peoples' cars so much that he can't get to the cars in his own garage, it's been hard for me to make time to promote my own music."
During his college days, Bendure helped form planet God, a religious rock band that toured the state for five years, recording three albums and gaining popularity among local Christian radio along the way. After shutting down the band in 2003, Bendure continued writing music, eventually starting his first solo recording two years later.
" The band was great for the rock-out stuff," Bendure said, " but my direction was always a little folkier, a little more intimate."
Over the past two years, Bendure has performed outside of Chickasha, with appearances at Norman's Borders Books and Music, as well as a few art galleries and festivals in Oklahoma City.
" I have worked with Michael on a number of arts events," said Stephen Kovash, owner of Istvan Gallery in Oklahoma City and vice president of Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. " He is excellent to work with, and his music is not only well received by the event participants, it always provides an excellent audio tapestry to accompany the visual art."
Last fall, Bendure picked up where his solo album had stopped and spent several weeks adding more tracks after a two-year hiatus. Though the first album is slated for a spring release, he said his writing continues further.
" The first album is almost done, the second album is written and ready and most of the third album is ready to go, too," he said. " I can't wait to finish the first album so I can finally get the second one started. As an artist, playing catch-up can be a very disheartening process."
Although the first album is not finished, Bendure will pre-sell the album as a fundraiser after the concert.
Fans of USAO's " Studio 18," a university-produced television show on cable channel 18, will recognize Bendure from " Song Search," a regular segment on the comedy sketch in which he reports musical findings and performs acoustic music. Though his arrangements of cover songs are original, Bendure said the TV spot has not filled a desire to perform his original songs locally.
Bendure hopes to change direction with the USAO concert, the first of several performances planned around the state this spring.
" So many people know me as the USAO news guy, that I'm excited to finally get out there and show them who I really am," he said. " I'm an artist, and my medium is songwriting."
As a songwriter, Bendure said his inspiration comes from life experiences.
" I write songs about family, faith, observations and day-to-day experiences," he said. " I'm not trying to sell something or change people. I create because it's something I can't stop. If I had to wrap up my message as an artist, it's this: think for yourself and appreciate the people and the opportunities around you."
Bendure also is scheduled to perform live during the free BFA senior art exhibit opening reception at the USAO Art Gallery March 29, beginning at 4 p.m.
Additional information about Bendure is available online at www.myspace.com/michaelbendure.