Music Technology grads present work in portfolio show
By Caroline Ho, Arts Editor
Students of the new Music Technology Diploma Program showed off their specialized skills at the Current Sound Waves VI concert this past Thursday.
Being the first year that the Music Department has offered this two-year diploma instead of the one-year certificate, a few students of this year’s graduating class have returned to Douglas after years away. A lot of these musicians are already working professionally in Vancouver’s music scene as artists, producers, and sound engineers.
In the hours before the concert, the graduates held a portfolio show outside the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre, where attendees could meet the students and experience some samples of their work. Some had audio clips of songs or albums to show off or music programs to demonstrates, and all were very willing to engage with visitors.
The concert itself began at 7:30 p.m., featuring live performances by Douglas College’s four Fusion Bands along with recorded compositions by MTD students. The opening act of the night was by the first stylistically-diverse Fusion Band. To this listener, the ensemble sounded like a mix of jazz, ska, R&B, pop, and other elements. Whatever the genre, it was certainly an effective combination of musicians, particularly their rendition of “Careless Whisper.”
The concert then showcased a few original recorded compositions by students. As MTD program coordinator Blair Fisher explained, students in both their first and second year of the program produced many excellent works over the past two semesters, far too many to fit into a single concert. To pick the pieces presented on Thursday night, an anonymous list of works was sent to the faculty, who chose six of the best pieces to feature in the show.
The first three of these selected works were audio recordings unaccompanied by visuals. Even without anything to look at, it was an engaging experience—the audience was able to sit back and appreciate the pulsing bass, the layers of rhythm and harmony, the expertly-woven effects, and the high-quality production of the three works as they filled the theatre.
Next up was the Fusion Pop Band, featuring a lineup of vocals, guitars, bass, keys, and percussion. The ensemble played a mixture of popular pieces like Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” and the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” The band also got to show off the fun side of sound effects with Tenacious D’s “Tribute,” and “The Greatest Song in the World”—demon voice included.
After an intermission, Fisher announced the recipients of the two Long & McQuade Student Recognition Awards, given to one first-year and one second-year MTD student for their outstanding musicianship.
Then came a performance by another ensemble, the Classic Rock Fusion Band. The group was less varied in genre, but certainly no less professional in sound quality and showmanship, and the audience got to rock along with familiar hits by artists like the Beatles and Pink Floyd.
The stage was next handed over to three more student projects, which were original recordings accompanied by visuals. First was a lyric music video for a song completely composed, written, produced, and mixed by MTD students. Then the audience heard two film scores for trailers of the movies Man of Steel and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. With the meticulous synchronization of audio and video, the trailers created an epic cinematic experience.
Finally, the aptly-named Fusion Rock/R&B/Pop Band gave the fourth live performance of the night. The group filled the theatre with a masterful blend of genres and a palpable level of musical passion.
Even though the Music Technology Diploma is new, this year’s crop of graduates seems already jam-packed with musicality and professionalism, a trend bound to continue in future years.