MANSFIELD — Surrounded by paper-covered desks, computer wires and cameras in the Richland Source News Room was Aurelio Diaz, a solo artist known as Chico’s Brother kicking off RichlandLIVE’s first event, After Hours.

Diaz, 40, an autoharp player who simply put, “plays music to his poems,” performed at the monthly concert before 50 invited guests Thursday night.

“I’m excited to be here,” Diaz said. “To be sharing music, the content of the songs whether people get it or don’t, it’s a sensation just to be here.”

Diaz played six original songs about his life experiences, from his time living with seven roommates to bonding with a friend over a hiking trip.

“We’re thinking about the news business in a way that hasn’t been thought often. Our team thinks of doing news with people instead of observing them. It’s an activity you do with people rather than to people,” Richland Source publisher Jay Allred said. “We have this super collaborative, super inventive, fun, welcoming culture, and we saw all of those things in action last night.”

The idea of After Hours originated from staff reporter Dillon Carr who said he had sparked the idea two years ago after being asked to cover more local musicians. As a then part-time employee at Richland Source, he got the OK from Allred to host a concert.

“The first one was a little chaotic, but it got better as the night went on. (April 26’s concert) was awesome,” Carr said. “Last time we were dipping our toes into it; this time we were full-throttle into it. We had a unified vision, and Aurelio was super cool to work with. The whole vibe was cozy.”

Carr said After Hours is exclusive. Twenty-five tickets will be handed out to those invited, and each invite allows a plus-one.

“It’s like we are throwing a house party with super cool artists. We have food, beer and wine. We are excited to have Mumvies Boy and Jimi Vincent coming up soon.”

The people who do come to these After Hours concerts get the exclusive look into our news life by seeing the clutter on the desks and that’s a unique setting for a concert.

Invited guests are asked to bring their tickets to the door with them.

“(This is) what I think is going to be the first of a lot of really cool things that are going to happen with RichlandLIVE,” Allred said.

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