There is a new group on campus that is causing quite the commotion. Founded by Junior Philosophy and Geology Major Jonathan Monk and Junior Philosophy Major Ricardo Torres, The Musical B.A.R. has plans to bring music to you.
Created in the spirit of raising the musical bar at Gustavus, the name of the group is a perfect fit. Not just a metaphorical bar, the name plays on music and the idea that “a bar is a social place to gather and share ideas,” Monk said. And in this case, it’s a social atmosphere for musicians on campus to be heard.
The Musical B.A.R. is “a collective of students who love music, [aiming] towards raising the musical bar on campus by social networking with other students, the community and through [seeking] philanthropic opportunities,” Monk said. “B.A.R. stands for the Birth And Rebirth of music on campus.”
The group meets periodically to discuss new options and outlets for performance, and currently 45-50 musicians are involved.
Monk came up with the idea last year. “There needed to be a connection between musicians in Gustavus ensembles and musicians outside of Gustavus ensembles,” Monk said.
After sharing this idea with friends, “it just kind of evolved from there,” Torres said.
“Monk basically said, ‘I’m going to create an organization where music can flourish.’ The organization is his brainchild, and it has been good to see it come to fruition. I remember when it was just an idea, and now [I] enjoy seeing it as a tangible entity,” Senior History Major and Musical B.A.R. member Keegan Fraley said. “[He created] a network [for] music lovers and music creators. It does not discriminate against any style or genre and offers musicians at Gustavus a place to create and perform music outside of the Music Department. It gives people the opportunity to find gigs, collaborate with others, pursue crazy ideas and above all have fun while developing musically.”
The group, which started forming at the beginning of the semester, has grown rather large in such a short amount of time.
“It was not difficult to find people who loved the idea because it spoke to their heart. But it was difficult to find people who had the time to initiate the program. Being a liberal arts school, a lot of the musicians in this group are involved in many other groups and activities around campus,” Monk said.
When asked about funding, Torres said, “It’s more of a time commitment than a green commitment.” However, the group will be appealing to Student Senate for funding sometime this semester.
The money the group is able to get from Senate will mostly be used to help cover the cost of equipment.
The Musical B.A.R. arranges student-led performances all around campus. Noah at the Piano in the Market Place, The Variety Show as well as the monthly Open B.A.R. in the Dive are all events made possible through the help of Musical B.A.R. members.
“Playing in the Homecoming Variety Show opened a new dimension of music for me; I had a spectacular time playing. It was nice to have a full band backing me up. It was a new dimension of music for me, Junior Management and Health Fitness Major Keith Linne said.
Open B.A.R. kicked off in September with an open concert in The Dive. Student musician Linne performed a few songs with his acoustic guitar.
Linne, who is no stranger to performing on campus, has also played CAB Coffeehouse and participated in KGSM’s Battle of the Bands last spring.
“I loved it. Opening night at The Dive was a blast, both as a performer and a spectator,” Linne said. “Monk sought me out [to join the group]. … I liked the idea of it, but had a lot going on. He kept hounding me to get involved, and I couldn’t turn him down. Even though I thought I would be short on time, I gave it a shot and I love it.”
Also performing in September was student band Tyrannosaurs in F14s. This band includes Sophomore drummer Dan Enright, Senior English Major and guitarist/vocalist Matt Beachey, Senior History Major and guitarist Steve Palmer and bassist Fraley.
“There is nothing quite comparable to playing music live. It gives you an opportunity to hone your performance skills and exhibit songs you’ve written. The Open B.A.R. events are perfect for this. Atmospherically, they are extremely laid back and musicians have a lot of control over their live presentation,” Fraley said.
This Saturday, The Dive will play host to Open B.A.R.’s October Fest and will feature Tyrannosaurs in F14s and Flash Bandango, among others. Flash Bandango has performed on campus before for last year’s Relay for Life and Earth Day. The band consists of Monk, Fraley, Senior English Major Ryan McGinty, Senior Mathematics Major John Lager and Gustavus Alumni Andy Haaheim ‘09.
“We’re creating opportunities and progress through a community of musicians,” Torres said. “We want as many people as are interested to get involved.”
Members of the musical B.A.R.urge that anyone interested in music participate.
“Regardless of your skill level or your preferred style of music, if you have always wanted to start a group, tackle a few performances as a solo artist or need to find a specific musician to collaborate with, the B.A.R. can be a useful tool. It is as simple as it sounds; the Musical B.A.R. is a good place for anyone wanting to make music,” Fraley said.
If you are interested in getting involved with the Musical B.A.R., contact Jonathan Monk via e-mail at email@example.com.