The Gustavus Music Collective offers an alternative to credit-based musical ensembles

Gustavus students are often heavily involved in the music ensembles on campus, but for those who do not want to take courses for credit, the Gustavus Music Collective provides an opportunity to perform and share music outside of an academic setting.

“The Gustavus Music Collective is a group of students on campus…apart from choir or orchestra or jazz, where we just have a safe space for musicians to showcase what they’re working on and performing that might not be for credit.”
-Senior Lydia Kalenze

The Music Collective has two main facets they focus on. In the past, they have hosted monthly open mic nights in the Courtyard Café. They also have access to a recording studio on campus for performers who may want to record their work and utilize the professional equipment available. In COVID-19 times, this is a unique and safe aspect of the organization.
“Because of COVID, we’ve really been leaning into the recording studio side of the music collective. That’s a really safe option right now because there can only be one person in that room at a time. I’m actually really grateful that we have this part of our org that can tide us over into the spring when we can hopefully start doing more things outside and back in person again,” Kalenze said.
Additionally, the Music Collective sometimes hosts “pajammin’” sessions, causal small group meetings for members to get together and share the music they’ve been enjoying and to perform if they wish. More plans to expand the organization were in the works last year, but the pandemic halted them.
In adjusting to the new normal, a virtual open mic session during J-term is in the works. Performance submissions would be pre-recorded and then edited into one video, which would be live-streamed.
Kalenze is also looking forward to the spring when the group’s events can be safely in person.
“We had talked about doing pop-up performances around campus to get people involved. When everything was halted so suddenly last year, we didn’t get a chance to implement everything we wanted to. Just providing as many opportunities for a creative outlet as possible has been our goal overall,” Kalenze said.
Kalenze herself found the Music Collective to be the best creative space for her when she came to Gustavus.
“Personally, the connections that I’ve made in this group have been absolutely phenomenal. I came into college not really knowing where I wanted to be musically, but I love to play guitar and I love to sing and this group has just helped me grow so much as a performer. I’m still in touch with all the former Presidents to this day and they’re all still musically active. I just feel like everyone who’s performed at these open mic nights has gone on to continue their love of music,” Kalenze said.

“Because the music collective provides a space for all genres of music…we have had people do spoken word poetry even, country music, jazz, pop music, there is truly a space for anyone who wants to showcase their favorite kind of music which is really cool,” Kalenze said.

“If you tried the ensembles for credit and you didn’t really feel like it was a perfect fit for you and you want to try a new kind of music…really there’s a place for everyone. If you’re interested in music, if you like to watch live music, if you like performing music, there’s definitely a place for you in this org. We would love to see what you can create,” Kalenze said.
Those interested in joining should send Kalenze an email to be added to the list and receive news about upcoming events and studio availability. They can also follow the Instagram account @gustavusmusiccollective.