A free, public concert on Oct. 4 that’s sponsored by Spalding University will, appropriately, feature a band that’s led by Spalding alumni.
Louisville-based Americana band Bridge 19, which is fronted by Spalding grads and employees Audrey Cecil and Amanda Lucas, will perform that Thursday night at Spalding’s Giving Day Celebration at Goodwood Brewing Co., 636 E. Main. The show, to be held from 6-9 p.m., will kick off Spalding’s Founders’ Weekend and cap Spalding Giving Day, which is the university’s largest day of annual giving. (Check out this link to donate on Giving Day. The university, which will also be accepting donations at the Goodwood show, is vying to have its most successful Giving Day yet.)
Though the Giving Day concert is open to everyone, Spalding alumni who attend will receive a free drink and appetizers, and they are encouraged to wear their blue and gold. In Cecil and Lucas, alumni will also get a chance to hear a couple of their fellow Golden Eagles.
Cecil, who got her bachelor’s degree at Spalding, and Lucas, who has her master’s from there, are the songwriters and lead vocalists of Bridge 19, an acclaimed five-member group that’s currently working on its third studio album, expected to be released spring 2019.
“Hopefully (the show at Goodwood) will be a mix of Bridge 19 fans and Spalding friends, and we’ll just know everyone in one way or another,” Cecil said. “Or it could be some beer fans that we don’t know. That would be cool, too.”
Cecil and Lucas know each other extremely well. They’ve been friends since childhood, bandmates and song-writing partners for the past 11 years, and Spalding coworkers for the past 10 years. They both work in the Spalding marketing department, where Lucas is the director of social media and digital recruiting and Cecil is the university’s digital media producer.
Outside of the office, they are busy musicians, part of a band that regularly plays headlining shows in Louisville and Lexington as well as regional music festivals. They recently joined the bill with Dr. Dog and Langhorne Slim at the FreeFall Festival in West Virginia and with Dar Williams at the Ferdinand Folk Festival in Indiana. They’ve also spent many days the past month in the studio.
Lucas and Cecil said their friendship helps create a strong song-writing chemistry.
“We know each other really well, and when we’re working together professionally, whether that be at Spalding or musically, we know what each other is thinking or means at all times,” Lucas said. “It’s challenging to write music with somebody, but I don’t find it challenging to write with Audrey because we know each other so well. Throwing out ideas and brainstorming and writing is all very personal at times, so it’s helpful to have someone you know well and who knows you well.”
Cecil, a native of Valley Station, and Lucas, who’s from Mount Washington, have been friends since they were teammates as 10-year-olds on the Dixie Dynamite traveling softball club. They played together through high school on that close-knit, confident team whose coach would blast “We Are the Champions” on a boombox toward the other dugout after every victory.
“We were a force,” Cecil said with a smile.
Cecil and Lucas kept playing softball in college – Cecil at Spalding and Lucas at Lindsey Wilson – and they saw each other occasionally when their schools squared off.
During and right after college, both women, unbeknownst to the other, took similar musical paths, teaching themselves how to play guitar, sing and write songs.
Cecil had joined a band and Lucas was playing solo in 2007 when they reconnected and discovered each other’s work on MySpace – then the go-to social media site to share and learn information about musicians.
Cecil invited Lucas to practice some with her band. They hit it off and eventually formed a duo whose early gigs included a performance at Lilith Fair, where they opened for stars such as Sarah McLachlan, Miranda Lambert and Mary J. Blige.
Lucas and Cecil, who are known for their vocal harmonies, began performing as Bridge 19 in 2012, the year they released their first album, “The Fall Back.” The name Bridge 19 is derived from the duo’s first 2007 gig, which occurred at Bearno’s by the Bridge on Dec. 7 – or 12/7. “And 12 plus 7 is 19,” Lucas explained.
The band’s current roster – Cecil, Lucas, drummer Meg Samples, bassist Jeff Faith and trumpet/accordion player Joey Thieman – has been together since 2014. Cecil and Lucas’ songwriting draw on pop, folk and country influences that include Brandi Carlile, Kathleen Edwards, Alanis Morrissette and Semisonic’s Dan Wilson.
Through it all, Spalding has also been a big part of Cecil and Lucas’ lives.
Cecil earned her bachelor’s degree from the university and has worked there for 14 years, including previously in the Office of Student Development and Campus Life. Lucas has worked at Spalding for 10 years, starting out as an admissions counselor after Cecil told her friend about the job opening there. Lucas moved to marketing three years ago.
In 2014, Lucas joined Cecil as a Spalding alumna by earning her master of science in business communication.
“It’s a very family-like atmosphere, and being around the students and faculty and staff and with the community that it is, it reminded me of my college experience,” Lucas said of the reasons for her longevity at Spalding. “And just the energy on a college campus is something you don’t find in a lot of other places.”
Find out more about Bridge 19’s music and upcoming performances at Bridge19.com.