New-classical duo to perform at Doudna

Hannah Shillo, Entertainment Reporter

Those planning to attend The OK Factor Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center are in for a surprise.

Dan Crews, director of programming, publicity and promotions at Doudna, said the group usually plans their performance the day of.

He said while attendees will not know what to expect, they can plan on having a great time, as the group has been described as “pure magic” by the Wausau Pilot and Review.

Cellist Olivia Diercks and violinist Karla Colahan make up the new-classical crossover duo that is The OK Factor.

Crews said he discovered the duo at the Arts Midwest Conference he attends each year.

At the conference, Crews said there is one day for attendees to sit through a showcase where artists have 20 minutes to show off their talent.

He said he wandered into a room intending to see another performer, but he waited after and The OK Factor was the next group to perform.

“I bring all of these groups back (for review), and (The OK Factor) is one I threw out at our classical music group,” Crews said. “I showed maybe eight to 12 (groups), and I said, ‘Hey, who of these do you like?’ and this is one that came back.”

He said he thinks people will enjoy the group’s performance because of how they modernize pieces, yet still keep them classical, and interact with their audiences.

“They’re not doing what we call traditional classical music,” said Crews. “It’s like they’re writing their own compositions or they’re taking well-known (pieces) by other artists, making it their own and giving it a classical spin.”

The OK Factor is also frequently featured on Minnesota Public Radio, which Crews said proves how well the group is doing.

“When MPR looks at someone,” he said, “you know they’ve got the stamina and top-notch artistry.”

As part of Doudna’s New and Emerging Artists Series, and sponsored by the EIU Classical Music Artists Series, Crews said this is a good time for students to see the group at a cheaper than normal price.

“Whenever we have the opportunity to present an up-and-coming performer, we’ll do that,” he said. “Everyone has to have their start someplace, and down the road, we wouldn’t be able to afford them.”

Crews encouraged students to step out of their normal routine and come see the show Thursday.

“Sometimes we find ourselves doing the same old things, and there is never a better time than when you’re in college to experience something new,” he said. “As a college student, I think it’s a great opportunity for young people to expose themselves to something they might not be familiar with.”

Tickets for The OK Factor are $17 for general admission, $13 for seniors and $7 for students, and they can be purchased online at or at the Box Office in Doudna.

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].