Students get the hands-on opportunity to develop mastery in musical production

Daniel Watkins Arts & Entertainment Contributor

Students in MUS 168: Chamber Ensemble: Miscellaneous are in charge of the full production, equipment set-up and sound engineering of two live concerts tonight and tomorrow evening.

Three students from the the Contemporary Electronic Music Ensemble will perform tonight as the trio Pacific Roots and six members will perform Wednesday night.

The responsibilities of the ensemble include publicity and developing material for the shows. Repertoire for the concert consists solely of original, student-penned compositions.

“In terms of songwriting, everyone presented two or three initial ideas and we all helped each other figure out where to take the composition from there,” said Henry Robins, drummer in Pacific Roots and music production sophomore.

Some pieces were written by individual members of the ensemble, but students worked in groups on all the arrangements.

“Everyone has their own specialty they bring to the group,” said Aiden Westrope, music production junior and member of Pacific Roots.

According to Luke Yokoyamas, music production junior, students in the ensemble come from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, with interests ranging from blues and folk, to electronic music.

“It’s going to be a great performance. Everyone’s characteristics are presented. Every piece that we’re playing was written by different people and shows their characteristics as a musician. It tells the audience about who we are as musicians,” Yokoyamas said.

This process presented challenges, such as booking a venue. The ensemble hoped initially to book the Memorial Union Ballroom for the performance, but had to change their plans due to schedule conflicts and rental costs, according to Robins.

“Finding a place to play was tough because we wanted to think outside the box and perform someplace on campus that wasn’t typically associated with music,” Robins said. “But every place has some extremely high fee to rent out so we have to play in Benton.”

Other obstacles were caused by the school closure at the beginning of term which gave the musicians less preparation time, according to Robins.

“We also only had about 5 weeks to come up with and rehearse a whole set list of new songs which was tough to do. It took up a lot of time,” Robins said.

According to Yokoyamas, the experience is valuable for music production majors since it allows students who are aspiring to be producers or sound engineers to get experience taking songs from ideas to reality, while working under realistic constraints.

“It’s important to consider what you’re limited to. What you can do with the instruments you have, what we can do with a given amount of time,” Yokoyamas said.

The ensemble is proud of the material they have developed, according to Yokoyamas, and is excited to share the result of their work.

“Finals are coming. This is an appropriate time to take a break from the world. Time to relax and get away from studying,” said Levi Salyer, music production senior and electric guitarist for Pacific Roots.

Both concerts will be held in Benton Hall, room 303 at 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. There is no charge for admission.

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