By Adrienne Foss, Contributing Writer
Assistant Professor of Music Composition Aaron Wyanski recently joined UMF during the 2020 school year and has since been making extensive contributions to the music department.
“On one of my first days, I was asked what kind of classes that I wanted to teach during the semester,” Wyanski said. “All of the classes that I pitched ended up actually happening, which is new for me and I find very exciting.” He currently teaches three classes a semester, along with the piano lessons he provides to a select number of students.
“I like how interdisciplinary the arts division is here and how easy it is to interact with people all around campus,” Wyanski said. “Sometimes music can be really siloed, which is definitely not the case here.”
Wyanski has been teaching instrumental lessons for almost 20 years and has been teaching composition for five. He has had previous teaching experiences at The Hartt School, which is connected to the University of Hartford, along with Sweet Briar College located in Virginia.
“One of my missions in education is to make sure that no one should feel bad for not knowing something,” Wyanski said. “Very often in music, people feel intimidated to try something new in fear that they might make a mistake.”
Wyanski started to gain an interest in music when he was an early teenager, and he started out by playing the guitar. At the time he was more of a visual arts person, but he soon began to realize he wanted to pursue a career in music. At the age of 18, Wyanski became an early admission student at a local New York community college where he began to learn how to play the piano.
Between getting his undergraduate and his master’s degree, Wyanski took a lot of time off and focused on working as a musician. After going to graduate school for music composition, he eventually realized that he wanted to pursue a career as a music educator.
“I’m consistently impressed with the students here, which is a big part of my inspiration when it comes to teaching,” Wyanski said. “For me, teaching has always been so much more about teaching people rather than only teaching a subject.”
“Part of what I’m here [UMF] to do is to make new things happen,” Wyanski said. “It’s a challenge in its own way, but I get to figure out what makes sense for the music program here.”
Clefnotes President Gacie Vaughn by Sam Shirley
By Samantha Pond, Contributing Writer
Two of UMF’s acapella groups, Deep Treble and the Clefnotes, are finding ways to continue making music despite the pandemic.
In March 2020, both groups were thrown for a loop when schools started to close down and no one was able to rehearse together. All plans for Deep Treble and the Clefnotes were brought to a halt, as singing in groups was not recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Over the summer, both of UMF’s acapella groups worked online to plan for the fall semester. Working together was necessary for groups to stay positive. “We frequently Zoom to check in on each other and discuss future club plans,” said Gracie Vaughan, second-year student and the president of the Clefnotes.
Both groups on campus are not giving up on rehearsals and meetings during these challenging times. Third-year student and co-president of Deep Treble, Kaitlynn Tarbox, has shown great determination to help keep Deep Treble together. “We have still been meeting twice a week during the pandemic with heavily enforced COVID procedures to ensure everyone’s safety,” Tarbox said. “We have to keep 10 feet of distance between everyone while we sing and still be masked to follow CDC guidelines.”
Rehearsals for the Clefnotes are looking a little different than Deep Treble’s rehearsals. “We no longer have full group meetings and meet instead in smaller groups of less than six people,” Vaughan said. “While it has created some physical challenges, it has truly shown many of our members’ determination to keep Clefnotes fun.”
With constant changes in regulations, members not able to attend, and not being able to find spaces for each group to rehearse and perform as a whole, both groups have faced challenges. “It has been difficult to find performance opportunities that were not virtual,” said Tarbox. “It is very difficult to put together a virtual concert so in-person performances are preferred if we can.”
For the acapella group, Clefnotes have felt differing struggles as they continue rehearsals in small groups and on Zoom. “Additionally, the stress of the pandemic itself has only intensified the stress of being in college, as many of us are juggling jobs, clubs, and social lives,” said Vaughan.
Despite the hoops the Clefnotes and Deep Treble have had to jump through to be able to practice together, singing acapella has kept members optimistic about the rest of the semester. “We are remaining a positive, safe space…so that our members can have a break from academics and still be able to see each other,” Tarbox said. “All of our decisions are run by not only our [executive] board members, but by the group as well.”
Auditions have become a struggle for both groups, as there is no place for them to be held when taking into consideration the conflict of safety when doing so. “[Deep Treble] held auditions last semester and filled some of our available spots, but this semester, with COVID-19 getting worse, we decided to hold off on auditions until next fall,” said Tarbox. The Clefnotes accepted video submissions for their auditions. Those who have auditioned and qualified for callbacks will receive their callback confirmation via email by Feb. 12.
If students would like more information about either group on campus, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on Deep Treble or email@example.com for Clefnotes or DM them on Instagram (@umfclefnotes).
By Jared Smelter Contributing Writer
UMF had a free concert from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m on Friday, September 14th, where they hosted psychedelic rock musician, Jeff Beam, with Dominic Lavoie. The concert took place on the Emery Community Arts Center Lawn. It was open to students, faculty, and community members.
Beam usually plays with a band, but Friday night, he played by himself. He performed a mixture of what he called “old stuff” and “new stuff” with a variety of instruments that included guitar and keyboard. He used vocal loops in his arsenal as well to intrigue the audience.
Before the concert, Jeff Beam was able to provide a perspective on what inspired his passion for music. “I would have to give credit to my parents,” Beam said.
“The set was very interesting,” said Lacey Condon, a sophomore at UMF. “It was lit night.” Beam had a mixed set list. He sang the pieces, “Auspicious Minds,” “Clairvoyance” and “Whispering Poison in his Ear.” All three of these songs he wrote and performed himself. He also performed a cover of the David Bowie song, “Golden Years,” with the other songs, “Disarray,” “Stephen King” and “Cherryfield,” by various artists.
Beam, an only child, describes his music as, “a subphonic [rock] and a blend of other types of rock music.” He listened to The Beatles, Aerosmith and Radiohead which aroused his interest in this type of music. He also listened to Crosby Stills and Nash, as well as Jimi Hendrix growing up.
Beam’s favorite band is Radiohead. “They’re making the most complex music that’s still very accessible. They are not cutting any corners,” said Beam. “They are the biggest band that doesn’t compromise logistically. They are able to take this very big vision that they have and execute it on a really big stage and have a lot of people react to it positively.”
Jeff grew up in Green, Maine, about an hour away from Farmington, in the Lewiston and Winthrop area. He went to school all his life there and studied at The University of Southern Maine and Southern Maine Community College in Portland, as well as Emerson College in Boston where he graduated. He lived in New York for a little while and finally moved back to Maine, where he calls home and enjoys touring around.
After the concert, Beam commented that, “the atmosphere was ideal,” and “the people were curious, and a great listening audience.” Beam also thanked the Emery Community Arts Center for having him, and for “supporting local music, and for providing that kind of programming in the Farmington community.”
By Olivia White Contributing Writer
A capella groups Deep Treble and ClefNotes are both hosting concerts in May that will include songs they have been working on throughout the spring semester.
The 2018 Clefnotes singers. (Photo Courtesy of Facebook)
Hawa Soubane, first semester ClefNotes member, said her experience in the club has been wonderful. “They expect the best from you,” said Soubane. “But also allow you to learn and make friends.” Soubane describes the club as “an awkward but loving family.”
Hunter Michaud, a new member of Deep Treble, describes the club’s atmosphere as amazing and “tight knit” while Gabriel Reed explains the family-like connections made between group members. “Alexu and Reed [Bridge-Koenigsberg] are like my mom and dad,” said Gabriel Reed, laughing.
While both clubs welcomed new members this semester, the end of the school year always holds the inevitable goodbyes for graduating seniors. Deep Treble will be parting with two beloved members of their club, Alexu Veilleux, a senior alto in the choir, as well as their music director Charles Lang.
The upcoming ClefNotes performance will be the last for Jesse Enos and Avery Isbell as members, which makes it appropriate that one of the songs they will perform is “Too Good at Goodbyes” by Sam Smith.
Claudia Labbe, freshman and second semester ClefNotes member, is hopeful they will have
better weather forecasts for their performance day seeing as many potential audience members could not attend their winter showcase due to an unforeseen snowstorm. Labbe said, “A lot of people are excited because they’ve gotten to hear us recently.”
The members of both groups have been busy beavers performing at different events held around campus. The ClefNotes have performed at an accepted students day, the student government conference, and at the recent Relay for Life event held in the FRC. Deep Treble has been busy as well, also performing at the Relay for Life event and at the Earth Day Celebration. These recent performances gave audiences a glimpse of some songs that may be performed at the spring concerts.
The Deep Treble showcase will be held on May 4 in Lincoln Auditorium. The doors will open at 7:00 p.m. with the show starting at 7:30 p.m.. The ClefNotes showcase will be held on May 5 in Nordica Auditorium. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the show starting at 7:00 p.m. Both of these shows are open to the public and are free to anyone who would like to attend.