Rona Room brings live music to socially distanced CPP community

On Nov. 6, a group of Cal Poly Pomona music students hosted an open-mic event called Rona Room through Instagram Live for students to show off their musical talents. Students and alumni came together to perform with an allocated voting period and winner announced at the end of the show.

The event had a steady viewing of around 25 people throughout the show with words of appreciation and positive feedback flowing from viewers throughout each performance, lasting six hours from opening until the voting ended.

The Rona Room was the result of a class project for a music industry studies course and was organized by 10 students.

“Everyone helped out in all areas where we needed assistance,” said organizer and third-year music industry studies student Kayla Greenwade.

The project guidelines were to choose an idea or a topic that would interest an audience while keeping in mind the COVID-19 safety regulations. Second-year music student Terell Love came up with the idea and hosted the event.

“The first thing that popped into my head was Torey Lanez and how he did Quarantine Radio but was just on Instagram Live and interacting with his fans,” said Love. “So, my first thought was to do something over Instagram Live so other people could see. Then, somebody else in the group said it might as well be an open mic, so that was the idea.”

The first-place winner, The Mouth Breathers, received a $30 cash prize. The hard rock band played original pieces including unreleased music.

The Mouth Breathers, a rock band consisting of Cal Poly Pomona students, often performed in live events before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy of Anikka Alvarez)

“We played two originals, one that’s on Spotify and Apple Music and one that’s being released hopefully in the next couple of months,” said Anikka Alvarez, the band’s guitarist and second-year music industry studies student.

The Mouth Breathers performed against a beautiful stage set up with drums and guitars in front of a white brick background. Their music was reminiscent of The Cure, and the group’s stage and live performance experience was evident.

Alvarez also contributed to the virtual show by creating all the promotional flyers for the event.

PRJCTDRMRM, a group of student musicians, began producing music in their dorm rooms. (Courtesy of Dakari Bowen)

Landing in second place, a group of artists called PRJCTDRMRM received a cash prize of $20. PRJCTDRMRM was founded by a group of friends who met on campus and grew into a hip-hop group of 15 performers and producers, and three graphic designers.

The Instagram Live viewing peaked at 28 views during their performance, with a hyped crowd and energetic rappers.

The group found Rona Room through Alvarez’s flyers.

“I was scrolling through Instagram and I noticed a flyer for Rona Room and went, ‘Oh, this looks like a really interesting page,’” said second-year music industry studies student Dakari Bowen. “I saw how they were having a show this Friday, so I sent it to our manager.”

Afrobeat musician and alumna Sharon Wachuka (’19, art), whose musician name is Nahsha, received the third-place cash prize of $20 for her performance of her two original singles. Wachuka was recruited by the hosts of Rona Room to participate in the event.

Wachuka’s music is centered on positivity and self-love. She started her performance by dancing around to build up the crowd’s energy, showing confidence and liveliness in her production.

“I’m glad I was part of that project, and I think that was a really well-organized and prepared event,” said Wachuka. “I had really great supporters and I was really happy to see that.”

The students who created Rona Room are looking to hosting a second series to the event due to the success of its first one. For more information, visit @rona.room on Instagram.

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