By Kristin Stockheimer
You’ve got an event. Maybe even a party. And a DJ won’t do. You’re going with live music – good stuff… artsy stuff. Frankly, any stuff. But “live” and “quality” are key.
The musicians at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh have a developed a new service that has just about anybody in the region covered. It’s ultimate goal: Match up clients’ cravings for live, high-quality music of any genre to the need for UW Oshkosh music students to get out and “gig.” Even with all the talent and music spilling out from the campus and its programs, students and faculty, it’s a good bet many in Oshkosh and the surrounding region who host special events, parties, weddings – you name it – sometimes overlook the resource they have in their backyard.
Professor Chmura-Moore helped develop a system to get students a few more gigs.
UW Oshkosh has created and launched a new, online Music Referral Service (MRS) that can connect the community with talented musicians from the University. Musicians are standing by to offer classical, jazz, rock and other musical styles for any occasion. The new referral service’s page is now up and operating (http://www.uwosh.edu/music/music-referral-service).
“There are great things happening here and we want to get the word out, so the community doesn’t take us for granted,” Chmura-Moore said. “From this, we should have better recruitment and networking that can showcase the talent we have here at UW Oshkosh.”
The idea for the Music Referral Service came to Chmura-Moore as he was pursuing his masters at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. The Conservatory has a referral service, called “Music by NEC” that Chmura-Moore thought could be easily adapted to Oshkosh.
“Currently there is nothing like this in the Fox Valley,” he said. “It was a void that needed to be filled. UW Oshkosh has great and talented students.”
The MRS factors and features the available talent of music majors, students enrolled in private lessons, anyone that a professor recommends, and specific alumni. Faculty sponsor the member-artists’ memberships.
Chmura-Moore’s intention with this service was to make it possible for UW Oshkosh music students to get work without having it rely solely on who they knew.
Music Composition major Nick Gutierrez agrees with Chmura-Moore: There needs to be more opportunity for students who produce quality music to showcase it (and a few bucks to support their efforts). They need the public-client connection to land valuable – and educational gigs.
“This program will give an opportunity for people to take advantage of more talent and is a good segue into the professional life,” said Gutierrez, who will be graduating this May. “This program will help get the UWO music department out to the community. We don’t interact with them as much, so this will be a good hybrid.”
“We’ve had some newer faculty come to UWO in the past few years who are advocates of a more modern type of music,” he said. “They have pushed us in that direction, which is beneficial, seeing how Oshkosh doesn’t receive the type of exposure that, say, Madison or Chicago would.”
Gutierrez said he is confident that any kind of specific song or genre that the community would want to feature at an event is available, simply by getting in contact with a group of musicians through the referral service and providing some practice time. UWO carries musicians of all skill levels, styles and interests.
Trombone performance and music business major Matthew Bragstad said UW Oshkosh continues to provide great opportunities for students to develop into the best musicians they can be.
“All of the students push each other to succeed, and the new students are always learning from the old,” Bragstad said. “Add the Grade-A roster of instructors to the mix, and the doors of opportunity start flying open.”
Kristin Stockheimer is a student writer with Integrated Marketing and Communications at UW Oshkosh and originally produced a version of this story for UW Oshkosh Today, www.uwosh.edu/today.)