Alumna performs at PNW


Towfiq Tofail

Ashley Peterson (left) and TJ Holsen (right) sing acoustic renditions of classic rock and pop songs on Feb. 22.

Tucked into the corner of the Hammond campus cafeteria, the music duo Peterson & Holsen sang softly to the crowd that drifted in on Feb. 22.

The duo is comprised of Ashley Peterson, communication alumna, and TJ Holsen, Chesterton resident. Together they sang a set of songs that included “Sweet Pea,” “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” “I See Fire,” “Desperado” and an original written by Holsen titled “Reason and Rhyme.”

The duo formed after Holsen approached Peterson because of her performance at the scholarship luncheon hosted by the university in 2015. Agreeing to sing classic rock and jazz songs in the area, the two created a two-hour set list that they performed at various coffee shops like Julius Meinl in Chicago and local festivals like Live in the Ville in Hessville.

Peterson & Holsen were asked to perform at PNW because Cody Dallas, student life coordinator, knew Peterson was in the duo. She eagerly jumped at the opportunity to perform at PNW because it was her alma mater and it was a different venue than their normal performances.

“Having worked in student activities and graduated from here, there was no question to me saying yes or no. It was a definite yes,” Peterson said. “I always appreciated people who had connections and gave their time to the university when I worked here, so I wanted to do the same. Plus I had always enjoyed Tunes @ Noon when I was a student and had saw it a few times.”

The performance drew around 40 students that drifted in and out to the corner where Peterson & Holsen were set up. Peterson said she thought the response was good.

“We’re used to seeing that type of fluid atmosphere since we perform at coffee shops. It’s kind of fun to see the crowd react when we do our sets too because we perform jazz standards and Eagles songs. People are always like, ‘Oh you don’t hear that anymore,’” Peterson said.

Moeni Rojas, senior political science major, said she thought the performance was very relaxing and had an organic sound.

“Generally, I don’t attend campus events but the flyer for this one caught my eye and I decided to attend. It’s nice that PNW does this during the day for those of us that don’t live on campus,” Rojas said.

Peterson said being in the duo has been a fun outlet for her to practice her musical talents.

“We’ve met some cool people along the way, and TJ is such a kind, giving and generous person. Our families are friends and have barbeques together. It’s kind of like having my fun uncle that plays music with me,” Peterson said.

Currently Peterson & Holsen are recording an EP of original music written by Holsen. They plan to finish this before Peterson moves to Virginia in the fall for graduate school at Liberty University. Peterson said she hopes to come back and perform again with Holsen during the winter and following summer as her schedule allows.