Our Student Showcases are your first opportunity to get on stage with other students. For those of you who are new to your instrument it might be your first chance to feel that awesome feeling of performing that lies somewhere between excitement and fear. The Student Showcases are the first ticket for many on that rollercoaster ride of performing on stage that will hopefully leave you wanting to ride again and again.
- Showcases are held 3 times a year, one each semester. The Fall (December) and Spring (April) Student Showcases are held on the third floor of our new building, or in a ballroom at the Genetti Hotel. The Summer Student Showcase is held in August as part of the school’s Summer Music Festival at the Brandon Park Bandshell.
- Showcases are open to all students, but are primarily geared towards Beginner and Intermediate Level students. (Students participating must be able to perform a song in it’s entirety to the satisfaction of their private lesson instructor)
- Students perform together in groups, with teachers, and more experienced students backing up their peers during the performance.
- Showcases are planned and run by a Student Showcase Leadership Committee made up of student volunteers who have participated in a number of showcases, and are recomended by their teacher.
- Showcases are overseen by UMC Technical Director; Willi Ort.
- Showcase audiences are made up primarily of student’s families and friends.
You get to pick a “level appropriate song” (nothing too hard, nothing too easy) that must be approved by your private lesson instructor. You then work on your performance of that song throughout the semester.
The song is placed on the Showcase spreadsheet and a backing band is formed (if the song requires one) using other experienced students and occasionally instructors to support your performance.
As the date for the Showcase grows near, there will be two rehearsals where you will meet twice with your band and rehearse the song together with your instructor. You will work as a group to perfect your performance, both as individuals, and as a band.
The day of the show everyone meets early to set up the stage, sound and lights. Soon, your family and friends, and the families and friends of the other 60 or more students performing, show up and take their seats. All students go to a green room (waiting area), eat snacks and drink water, and hang out together. As the show starts, each group takes the stage one at a time to perform their songs.
There will be Student M.C.(Master of Ceremonies) who will introduce each song and the performers. As the Showcase ends you will help tear down the equipment and load it out, then you’re done and it’s time to celebrate.
For most new students the process starts over again. You go to your next lesson. Soon you and your teacher are talking about a new song for the next Student Showcase.
If you did particularly well in your performance and have already been part of a few of the showcases, your teacher may ask you to be part of the Showcase Leadership Committee and or the Backup Bands for other students. If they do, that means they think that you are making progress on your instrument and that you have shown that you are willing to work hard and that you have demonstrated a sense of responsibility.
The Uptown Music Collective strives to be a Student led organization. That means the students do a lot of the planning, scheduling, organizing and carrying out of our projects and events. The Showcase Leadership Committee is a group of students, overseen by Technical Director Willi Ort, who put together most of the details for the Student Showcases, including:
- Creating the Setlist (the order of songs)
- Creating the Cue Sheets (sheets that tell the sound and light people what to do when)
- Creating the Stage Plot (a map of where the equipment will go on stage)
Then they oversee the setup and make sure the details are carried out. As you can see, taking part in this committee will teach you a lot about what we call production, which includes all of the areas of putting on a show outside of playing and singing the music. It is also a great way to begin developing leadership skills and to demonstrate your work ethic and responsibility.
Being part of the Backup Bands is a great way for you to get more group playing time and stage experience. When you are in the Backup Bands, you will learn specific backup parts for each song that you are assigned. You may learn the song from your teacher, or if you are very experienced you may do a lot of the learning on you own.
When it’s time to rehearse you will usually backup several students and spend several hours rehearsing with your bands and the students you are backing up.
It’s so important that the Backup Bands learn their songs and come in prepared. As a member of the Backup Band you are most likely supporting new students on some of their first songs. It’s a sacred duty to make sure that you do your very best for them.
It’s also important to do your best at this point if you plan on auditioning for a place in the Community Performance Groups or Special Performance Groups. The teachers, staff and Performance Program Director Dave Brumbaugh are always on the lookout for students who have the skills, work ethic, sense of responsibility and the love of music, necessary to be a part of the Performance Programs Select Groups.