As COVID-19 restrictions lift, students anticipate the return of the Department of Music’s Songwriter Showcase Ensemble, where they can showcase their songwriting and musical skills at concerts on April 28 and April 29.
Arthur Winer, director of the Songwriter Showcase Ensemble and professor, proudly announced the songwriter showcase will return spring 2022 for the first time since the pandemic. Cal Poly Pomona students from all majors were given the chance to send their auditions by Oct. 29.
According to Winer, the idea for the showcase sparked from a class when a guest speaker was running late. While everyone waited, students went up on stage in the recital hall and played their songs for everyone.
“It was a little light bulb, like okay, this would be a great concert, and so, it wasn’t even officially a class at first,” said Winer. Now, it’s a class students may officially enroll in.
MU 3690L Songwriter Showcase is offered in the spring semester. Students may join the class after sending their audition during the fall and enroll for the spring after receiving a permission number from the director letting the student know they have been invited to join.
According to Winer, he receives anywhere from 50-60 songs from auditionees throughout the audition process, but only 20 can be chosen to be showcased at the concert. Students explore a wide variety of genres from hip-hop, rock to Broadway, and the event has even had death metal songs on occasion.
“We basically take over the music building,” said Winer. “We take over about four rooms and we break into groups. Each group is kind of its own band responsible for five songs, and so, each little band becomes its own little mini community within the bigger community.”
Once the pandemic halted in-person sessions, the class was transformed into a seminar type of setting where a guest speaker would chime in via Zoom to give feedback on students’ songs and talk about their experience in the music industry.
“It’s a tradition at Cal Poly that I’ve seen grow into something like a really established group and ensemble to be a part of I guess,” said English literary studies and music industries studies student Renée Paladini. “I think that for me, it’s essential to want to get my music out. That’s the whole point of us doing this.”
Students that have been involved in the showcase are looking forward to coming back and participating in the ensemble once again.
“I’m very excited because technically this would be my first concert ensemble,” said music composition student Katherine Cabula. “I’m very excited to be working again in person, to be performing again and I just really hope that I make the most out of this experience and that I could do the best that I can.”
Students interested in learning more about the showcase can visit the ensemble’s website page.
“Here’s an opportunity to come out and support your classmates you may not have even known were brilliant songwriters,” added Winer.