Two nights at the Music Recital Hall were filled with sounds of both the singer-songwriters and their respective instruments as the 16th annual Songwriter Showcase kicked off.
Auditions took place last Tuesday and Wednesday and gave about 60 students the opportunity to perform their original songs.
Out of those 60, 20 students will have their songs chosen for the upcoming showcase concert later this spring.
The showcase was founded by Professor Arthur Winer, who also serves as judge and directs both the songwriting showcase and auditions. He gives feedback to the students auditioning.
“It started out as just something that I did as a creative activity and then I turned it into an official ensemble and a class, so it’s a class that has regular rehearsals in the spring semester,” Winer said.
The two-day auditions had a mixture of performers waiting for their auditions, as well as students who were just there to watch the songwriters showcase their original work.
The songwriters ranged from varying sounds, genres, skills, instruments and renditions despite it being the audition stage. Overall, it was a series of solo performances.
Performances included the songwriters singing and playing either the guitar, piano, bass, other stringed instruments and well as their electronic devices as the instruments.
Third-year music industry studies student Zachary Corrales auditioned during the Tuesday takes which was something that he looked forward to as a transfer student and one of the reasons he attended Cal Poly Pomona.
“I really wanted to practice my songs hard and try to get into this ensemble,” said Corrales, who also wishes to be part of the ensemble as a background guitarist, singer or instrumentalist. “I’ve been really looking forward to doing my auditions for the songwriting auditions on campus and I’m really glad I’m taking place and I got to participate in it.”
All songwriters zoom in and out from the stage while Winer — on his secluded seat center of the hall and away from the waiting songwriters and audience — secretly decides the 20 finalists.
Fourth-year music industry studies student Adrian Maldonado was another student who auditioned for the chance to be a part of the Songwriting Showcase.
“There’s a lot of talent, there’s a lot of great songs and I’m excited for when the show comes; I auditioned last year but – shout-out to my boy Jordan [one of the audience members] – I got in but I had to take another class so I couldn’t; so, this will be the first time if I get in I will be performing, so that would be cool.” Maldonado said.
The 20 students chosen out of the roughly 60 participants will be announced soon and will be required to take the songwriting ensemble class at the spring semester.
The 20 songwriters will be divided into smaller groups alongside one or two producers where they will meet once a week to produce and perform their original songs.
Sonia Ohan, a fourth-year music industry studies student, is one of the producers alongside other students.
“Generally, I listen to the songs and I listen to the songwriter’s ideas on what they want the song to become and then I try to work with them to make it sound as good as possible,” Ohan said.
Winer points out final thoughts on the Songwriter Auditions and Showcase.
“It is not a contest, it is a show – it is a show; it is a big deal, the concert usually sells out both nights that we perform,” Winer said.
The 16th Songwriter Showcase will take at April 25 and 26 at the Music Recital Hall this spring.
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