Cuyamaca College to mount music festival May 7

CUYAMACA COLLEGE  (Press Release)– Combine live bands with college students eager to learn the music business and what do you get? The Cuyamaca College Music Industry Studies program’s third annual Coyote Music Festival set for noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 7, on the grand lawn of the Rancho San Diego campus.

The free event for all ages will be showcasing local bands on two stages playing original and covered music ranging from rock, pop, alternative and punk to acoustic jazz and folk.

For the students, the concert is the culmination of a semester-long project to put on a music festival, handling all aspects of production, including planning, auditions, promotions, staging and sound engineering.

The music festival has grown from five bands the first year to seven in the second and nine this year, said instructor Pat Setzer, who heads the college’s performing arts program.

“What I hope students take away from the experience is a chance to participate in putting together a large-scale event from the earliest stages,” he said. “Every aspect of this event — even loading the bands in and out, running the live sound, answering questions from visitors – will be done by the students. On one hand, it demystifies the process to see all of the planning laid out; but at the same time, the students find out firsthand that it is a lot of work to put on a festival.”

Music Industry Studies is a transfer degree program unique locally to Cuyamaca College that focuses on the practical aspects of developing careers in the music industry. The program combines classes in music theory, literature, and performance with studies in music technology and business. The Coyote Music Festival is the product of one of the program’s classes, the Music Industry Seminar.

“The combination of dedicated instructors and a top-of-the-line facility like the Communication Arts Center built with the help of voter-backed Prop. R bond funds has transformed Cuyamaca College’s music program,” said Cindy L. Miles, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District chancellor. “The Music Industry Studies program is unique in that it opens students’ eyes to the multiplicity of jobs that a career in music offers. It’s not just about performance – it’s concert promotions, studio work, commercials – every possible avenue for students to explore to convert their talent and love of music into profitable careers.”

Ronald Scott, a second-year student at Cuyamaca, used what he learned in the seminar about social-media promotions to land an internship with Sub-0 Records, a San Diego-based indie music label.

“At Sub-0 Records, I monitor and post to the social networking sites and post videos onto YouTube – all stuff I learned from this class,” Scott said.

Brady Espinosa, also a second-year student, said he was drawn to the class because of aspirations of taking the stage himself someday as a musician.

“What I’ve learned is to put on something like this festival, what it takes are resources to tap: people who are tech-savvy to handle the Web stuff, good writers to write the promotional text,” said Espinosa, who plays the electric guitar. “It’s more accessible than you might think if you have the right people.”

Early in the semester, each band selected to be showcased is assigned a student liaison who serves as the primary contact for the class, coordinating such details as figuring out equipment needs and helping with publicity and promotion.

The seminar class has so much to offer that students can take it up to four times, each year learning a new aspect to putting on an event of the Coyote Festival’s scale. And it isn’t just music students, but graphic design, art and business students who are recruited to take the class.

“After students have been though the class once or twice, they progress from being a helper who follows instructions to a team leader who coordinates other students with less experience,” said Setzer, who leads the seminar along with music instructor Taylor Smith and instructional lab assistant Chuck Walker.

Gathering for a rehearsal recently at the college’s performing arts center, the students intently focused on their assigned tasks, breaking up into small groups to go over the event’s minutiae, from the food to sell at the concessions to working the sound boards.

It’s serious business putting on an event focusing on fun, Setzer reminds students. So while the audience grooves to Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” and the Commodore’s “Easy” – both songs to be performed by Cuyamaca’s own Rock, Pop & Soul Ensemble – the students will be busy behind the scenes  making sure the event goes without a hitch.

For more information, including links to additional bands performing at the festival, go to the student-created website, .Parking is free for the event located at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway, El Cajon, Calif. 92019

Preceding provided by Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

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