Freshman Grace Eschbach feeds passion for music through concert-going experiences


David Eschbach

Meeting her favorite band Waterparks, freshman Grace Eschbach takes full advantage of the VIP tickets her dad snatched up when they went on sale again. Waterparx decided to sell only ten more VIP passes before their concert after they sold out, and Eschbach and her father, as a result of quick thinking and collaboration, were able to buy the tickets. “It’s a surreal [experience] because [the artist is] a real person, and I can see them,” Eschbach said.

The lights suddenly turn off. The stadium settles into a bated silence. The countdown pops up on the vast display and freshman Grace Eschbach finds herself caught up in the wave of anticipation riding high around the venue.

“You can feel the energy changing as soon as the countdown comes up,” Eschbach said. “If [the concert doesn’t] have a count down the lights will suddenly shut off, and I’m like ‘oh my God, it’s happening!’ The artist will pop out or just walk out on stage and that part– that’s really my favorite part [about going to concerts].”

Going to concerts allows Eschbach to strengthen connections with her family when she might not have time otherwise to partake in family bonding.

“[For Grace and I], I believe we gain good, quality, fun time together. For instance, we got to see a band in Chicago, and we got to drive on Lakeshore Drive at Christmas time and Michigan Avenue. It was just fun having that time together,”  Grace’s father David Eschbach said. “She has a lot going on in school, I have a lot going on at work, and it’s a great opportunity for us to hang out and share a common interest that we both like.”

Both of Grace’s aunts worked for the Atlantic Records company back when records were the only way to access  music. Today, Grace explores career options in more modern medias.

Courtesy of Grace Eschbach, The Star Performing Arts Centre, and the Hollywood Reporter

“We’ve talked to her about starting a blog or a YouTube channel about what she sees when she goes to these concerts and her opinions on them,” Grace’s mother Cathy Eschbach said. “She really has a good ear for music and really takes in the whole experience. She’ll critique the setlist, what she thinks should’ve been played and what shouldn’t have been played. I think it’d be great if she could turn this into a career in the music or entertainment industry.”

For now, however, Grace places importance on just going to concerts and seeing her favorite artists live.

“[Seeing the artists live] shows that they are a real person, not just someone on my screen,” Grace said. “It makes me see that they’re not some celebrity or the Hollywood stereotype, and that they’re regular human beings. That makes me feel like they know what they’re talking about when they write songs and lyrics.”

To get these opportunities, Grace developed a process for when she asks her parents for tickets. The process begins with being what she calls a ‘sarcastic suck-up’.

“If they’re sitting in the living room, I’ll walk up and be like ‘hiiii, I love youuuu’ and ‘have I told you that I love your shirt recently?’ and then obviously they catch on right away,” Grace said.

She’ll then inform her parents about the concert details, promise to keep her grades up and then earn her tickets by helping her parents out with small tasks and chores, like babysitting her brother or filing things for her dads work.

“They see me as more responsible, and [it] builds trust [between us],” Grace said. “It lets [my parents] know that when they get me tickets, I’m not just going to do nothing, I’m going to do something back in return. It builds more trust, so I’m able to see more concerts.”

For Grace, a reply in the affirmative is enough to result in a volcanic reaction.

“She explodes. It’s like getting a new bike for Christmas or getting a new puppy,” David said. “It makes me feel good, not for ‘giving’ her something, but to see her excited about an experience that will always be in her life. My joy comes from what she does with the experience.  It’s far more than the joy of giving her ‘that favorite doll’ when she was three. This is something she receives with value and purpose.”

Grace continues to feed this enthusiasm throughout the weeks leading up to her next concert by keeping a countdown on her phone or on her whiteboard. To Grace, concerts give her the same level of excitement and commitment as a sport and often takes the same amount of funding as well.

“I’m not athletic, so I don’t play a sport. My parents figure this is one extra thing they’re fine with paying for because it’s not drugs, and I’m not doing anything bad. It’s kind of like my sport,” Grace said. “I do it frequently so that it’s not just throwing away money.”

Because music is at the base of everything she does, Grace is always planning her next concert excursion.

“I always wondered [what other people do] because I know for me, with my level of obsession with music, I’m pretty high up there,” Grace said. “I always think about people who don’t frequently listen to music all the time, [and] I’m like ‘what do you do?’ I always have my earbuds in, and I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t listening to music.”