Southeast Missouri State University student publication

A Night with Merry Ellen Kirk

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Mary Ellen Kirk sings at the Academic Terraces during a Sept. 13 concert put on by the Baptist Student Center.
Photo by Marquetta Evans

The Baptist Student Center hosted a concert at Southeast’s Academic Terraces featuring alternative-pop vocalist Merry Ellen Kirk on Friday, Sept. 13.

“She’s a musician, so we thought it would be really cool if we brought her here,” Jenni Parsley said. “She’s really talented, and it was really convenient to have her come here.”

The Baptist Student Center welcomes and encourages all forms of art, not necessarily just religious music.

“We embrace all types of music from country, blues, punk, or rap,” Parsley said.

Kirk’s musical style has drawn comparisons from critics to Christina Perri as well as other musical inspirations like Ingrid Michaelson, Tori Amos and Imogen Heap. She has recorded four albums, and her music has been featured on American comedy-drama television series Jane by Design on ABC Family and in a Salvation Army Switzerland commercial. Her debut record “Invisible War” was released in 2009 with 11 tracks.

The daughter of missionary parents, Kirk resided in Mongolia during her early years, moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and currently resides in Columbia, Missouri.

“I was invited here a couple years ago, and I’m not far away,” Kirk said. “I feel like growing up in Mongolia for the first few years of my life, I think it gives you an idea of how big the world is and how much more complicated it is.”

Students ranging from those who have known about her for a while and ones who recently-discovered her for the first time came to see her perform her songs.

The crowd at Friday’s concert included Kirk’s family members and a diverse group of students.

“I didn’t know of her before, so last night I went to the concert in the church, and it was good,” Spring 2019 Southeast graduate Ying Li said.

Kirk performed original songs such as “The Tower” and “Sweet on You” for the crowd.

Parsley emphasized the sense of community among students here in Cape Girardeau.

“We’re mostly looking to bring local artists to the campus,” Parsley said. “We think local artists should be supported and paid for and promoted.”