Lab bands are student-formed, faculty-mentored groups of musicians that play shows on campus in the Blackroom. Students form their own bands and audition into the program to receive sound and lighting engineers, a faculty advisor, rehearsal space, and on-campus shows. The program is competitive, accepting a maximum of four bands per semester. Once a lab band, the students rehearse twice a week in the Blackroom, work on honing their skills with faculty member Ryan Young, and write original music.

The lab band program has been around for over twenty years, long before current Commercial Music/Audio Engineering head Gary Erickson took over. Erickson has seen the program grow directionally, functionally, creatively, and most of all, technically. He has big plans and dreams for the ensemble going forward, hoping to hone both the process and the purpose.

gary-erickson-portrait-1His desire is that the Blackroom not become the high point of a lab band’s career, but a staging ground for off-campus tours.  He wants to start a student production company that would work in coordination with the lab band program, providing student managers, producers, and marketing personnel for the bands. The program is already doing great things, and with Erickson’s direction, will go even further in the future.

Some notable past GC lab bands include Augustana, Jars of Clay, Paper Route, the Madison Letter, and For All the Drifters. 

by Mandy Pennington 

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