Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College

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Sounds good

Music co-op offers entertainment, opportunities

On a recent Saturday night, when a band member spoke into the mic in the Woolley Room in Mary Lyon Hall, you could hear it on the other side of campus.

At first glance, the carpeted presentation room seems an unusual space for a gig. But doing the unexpected is one of the goals of Wheaton’s music co-op, which sponsored an evening of entertainment in which Perutz & Co., Facing the Crowd, Continental Fusion and Electric Animal played rock and electronic music for an intimate audience.

The music co-op is a loosely affiliated group of campus bands that have joined forces to organize and present a number of student-run shows each year.

Jordan Wolfe ’15, a music major who plays guitar, runs the co-op, which became active on campus and started to plan shows in fall 2011. He also has his own three-person rock band called Mike’s Bakery.

“The Wheaton music co-op is a club dedicated to providing opportunities for students interested in popular music, specifically rock music,” Wolfe said. “We want to offer an outlet for students interested in popular music, as opposed to the more classical and global focus of the Music Department.”

The co-op’s 10-member executive board, which is chaired by Wolfe, is composed of freshman, sophomores and juniors. They meet once a week to decide on performance spaces and to make arrangements for the student bands interested in playing. The executive board also discusses the Wheaton music scene in general, and tries to come up with ways to improve it.

“Throughout the year we hold concerts, provide and maintain a rehearsal space for student groups, and hold open jam sessions where musicians can meet each other and play together,” Wolfe said.

The co-op’s rehearsal space is in the old observatory, located near the tennis courts. There, in a sparse white room containing just a brown couch, the band members spend hours jamming.

Currently, seven bands are part of the co-op. However, new bands and collaborations continue to appear. Wolfe said he is most excited about two new bands that have made their debuts on Wheaton’s campus this year.

One is The Wild Turkeys, which incorporates lots of improvisation during performances. With a huge ensemble of 10 performers from all four class years, the band members play a wide variety of instruments and are currently the only band on campus to have a horn section. The group also performs funk and soul.

Another band is a rock group of four freshmen called Continental Fusion. “Though recently formed, the group has developed a large repertoire of covers, ranging from The Ramones to Maroon 5, as well as hard hitting, well written original music,” Wolfe said.

For the past two years, the co-op has also put on a student band showcase during Spring Weekend. The co-op has even hired a company to provide professional equipment and sound engineers for the performances that take place in the Dimple each year in April.

This year, the co-op hosted a Battle of the Bands in Emerson Dining Hall on April 12, in which six groups competed to win a spot performing during Spring Weekend. The Wild Turkeys won, and Lucy Lou came in second. Both bands will open for The Skins on campus on Saturday, April 26.—Adam Kilduff ’16