Areamusic fans have a new reason to get amped. This year, UCSB has rolled out UCSB Amplified, a live music series showcasing student, staff, and alumni musicians. The idea for the program came out of a January meeting within the Office of Public Affairs and Communications (OPAC), when staffers saw an opportunity to showcase the underrepresented bands, soloists, and ensembles that make up the campus’s diverse and vibrant music scene. Out of their meetings grew UCSB Amplified, a video series in the style of NPR’S Tiny Desk Concerts.
In the words of PAC’s editorial assistant Jessica Fenton, the series “works to break down the fourth wall often felt when viewing a performance at a distance onstage.” Recorded in a studio, the series “enables an up-close and personal listening and viewing experience,” she said. Beginning with the soft hum of an amp and the smack of a clapperboard, each mini-concert shows the performer in a barebones studio setting, placing the listening viewer right alongside.
A fleet of volunteers, music department students, and PAC staff put the show together. The first season featured performances ranging from the classical — UCSB’s Young Artist Piano Quartet, the Percussion and Afro-Brazilian Ensembles, flutist Azeem Ward — to the contemporary, with acts like electronic artist Underbelly and acoustic duo Erisy Watt and Jeremy Ferrara. “The campus and public reception has been extremely positive so far. The continual praises that audiences post about the performers demonstrate the robust community that is present on campus,” Fenton said.
The series has just wrapped up its first season and is in the process of filming the second, which Fenton hints will feature spoken-word and a cappella acts. The series will likely expand to include performances in front of live audiences, as well sessions recorded in less conventional indoor and outdoor settings to highlight UCSB’s beachside locale. Between now and the fall, UCSB Amplified will also offer viewers a sneak peek into the production process with behind-the-scenes episodes.
Sound good? Visit ucsbapmlified.tumblr.com to tune in and see just what UCSB’s music scene has to offer, up close and personal.