O-Issue 2012: Campus music

From broadcasting to bands, there’s something for all musicians


By Joy Crane

It’s a good time to be a musician at the U of C. Although Phillip Glass has long since departed from the Burton-Judson courtyards, music remains a cornerstone of the campus cultural fabric. This is particularly true this academic year given the opening of the Logan Arts Center, with Logan being an excellent resource to musicians in its own right, and since its opening will spotlight the various music opportunities on campus.

The music department hosts over 15 different ensembles and programs, which collectively present more than 100 concerts each quarter. Richly varied in historical periods and cultural affiliations, these ensembles vary from the prestigious Rockefeller Chapel Choir to the more eclectic Javanese Gamela ensemble, a group that performs traditional Indonesian music accompanied by cultural dance and puppetry. The main audition process takes between September 24-October 1.

But you needn’t leave your dorm room to hear some great student-produced melodies. WHPK, the campus-wide radio station, pools together university students and community members to build its 160 person staff. With a constant 24-hour stream of high-quality programming, WHPK presents shows on a variety of formats from rock to public affairs to jazz, all strung together under the collective aim of “playing music not commonly heard on the mainstream.” Tune in to 88.5 FM or listen online at WHPK.org, where you can also apply to become a student DJ.

The Major Activities Board, or affectionately known as MAB, presents two annual music concerts, the Fall Show and the Summer Breeze Concert. Highly anticipated events, former performers have included The Ramones, the Red Hot Chile Peppers, Beck, Eminem, and, last year, headliners included Matt and Kim, Neon Indian, and Ludacris. The events are organized by students, for students, and offer a lot of bang for your buck given the low-cost of student tickets—a mere 20 dollars. MAB members also attest to getting to meet their favorite performer up close and personal. Current second-year and former MAB member Sam Karas recalls driving Neon Indian to and from the airport “quote pending”.

For the more classically inclined, University of Chicago Presents (UCP) will more than satisfies an aficionado’s needs. UCP hosts three concert series per annum, bringing together highly acclaimed soloists and chamber music ensembles for performances in awe-inspiring spaces such as the Mandell Hall and Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. With student tickets only 5 dollars subject to change, these heavily discounted events are worth capitalizing on.

In terms of musical spaces, however, nothing compares to Logan Center’s new musical facilities. Logan boasts three music ensemble rehearsal rooms, 20 music practices rooms and one piano teaching studio, and an ambitious Performance Hall. With it’s open layout and vacant interiors, it is hoped that the space can foster new musical creativity of all dominations, and cradle the existing campus musical framework. Be sure to check out the many student-led performances set to preform at the Logan Launch Festival October 12-14.