An intricate guitar lick, one hauntingly heavy bass line, a mind blowing drum solo, and the perfectly timed drop. These are just a few of the things that musicians live for.
The energy is immeasurable as a crowd gathers to enjoy something they are truly passionate about: the thrill of the show. Student musicians and fans alike can all agree that nothing beats a good turnout at a live performance.
“There’s nothing like it. The excitement begins before the show starts, and only builds as the show goes on,” said Senior James Porteous.
At McDaniel College, there are many ways to participate in the live music scene and some are much easier than others. The planning and executing of such performances require commitment and persistence in some cases, while others are hosted and facilitated by the college.
Students interested in organizing their own events must fill out forms to rent space and equipment from Conference and Auxiliary Services on campus. Online forms are available to aid in event planning: http://intranet.mcdaniel.edu/administrative-departments/conference-services
Other events like faculty brunches, recitals, and Spring Fling are organized by the college and provide easy avenues to perform live. In most cases, students are contacted by staff members to perform at these events.
Most student musicians who perform at functions hosted by the college are referred by teachers in the music department since they are already familiar with their skill levels. Other students outside the music program may be left to planning their own events.
Certain clubs and organizations also host opportunities for live performances. Beta Alpha Chi, the music honor society at McDaniel, hosts “Open Mic Nights” where it is easy for a large number of student musicians to perform freely without much preparation.
The Philosophy Club has, for two years now, hosted an event called the “Friday Night Freakout” at which a few student-DJs throw down their own blends of electronic music. Last year, the club was lucky enough to be able to hire a local DJ, Nixsin, who has quite a large following and has played at shows as big as Starscape in Baltimore.
“Planning was a lot more work than I thought it would be, and hiring a DJ was kind of annoying. We rented PAs from Coffey Music because getting them from the college is next to impossible,” said Senior Philosophy Club member Isaac Wolinksi. Wolinski has performed at two of the Freakout shows and says they plan to have another one later this semester.
For those organizing their own event, it can be quite an undertaking, but there are resources on campus to facilitate the process. Lindsey Henderson, assistant director of Student Engagement, says that students do not need to go through her office to plan an event, but they can definitely help those in the process.
“Our office is really in tune with what students need,” said Henderson.
Another aspect to consider is that while the college may aid students in planning their events, they will not necessarily advertise for you. Many students have absolutely no idea when certain events are happening.
“One time I saw the bass ensemble play because I was offered extra credit to attend. It was cool but I would have never heard about it if my teacher hadn’t told me to go,” said McDaniel alumni John Gamble.
Charles Eron, a senior music theory and composition major, has performed for faculty brunches as well as classical recitals and Jazz Band shows. His feelings towards the college’s events were quite strong.
The music department’s concerts have become “poorly promoted and not taken seriously by the college,” said Eron. “There is no exhaust fan in the men’s bathroom; the facilities are literally falling apart. All that, and no one comes to our concerts.”
It seems as though the process to organize your own event or participate in a campus event is easy for some while not for others but most students agree that the turnout is usually the biggest issue.
Cole Butler, sophomore graphic design major, has played twice on campus with his band, Just Friends.
“Both events from a performance standpoint went well although the student turnout was a little weak,” said Butler.
Overall, one message is made pretty clear: there are ample opportunities for students to perform live on campus. However, it may take more effort for those outside of the music department to find campus-hosted opportunities. It also may take a lot of effort to organize and plan a performance, considering everyone’s varying work schedules.
Regardless, the most important aspect of planning a live performance on campus is to advertise. Get the word out and you’ll get the turnout.