Student Artistry Grows with Ramapo Music Scene

Home to over seven music-based clubs and ensembles and offering five music majors, minors and concentrations, Ramapo College is a standout school in terms of state college music programs. As the music scene on campus continues to expand each year, students are beginning to see the effects of the growing program.

The number of undergraduate students pursuing music-related concentrations is reaching numbers far beyond previous years, as noted by music professors throughout the 2014 fall semester. E-board members of clubs such as the College Programming Board and the Ramapo Music Club stated during their first meetings that turnouts were far larger than expected.

Given the obvious growth of interest in music on campus, finding faults in Ramapo’s music programs seems unlikely. Unfortunately this is not the case, and many musicians are beginning to voice their opinions regarding areas they feel are in need of improvement.

Last Tuesday, a petition was published that fought to bring back WRPR, the Ramapo radio station that has been without a signal due to the construction in the G-wing academic building. Just as disappointing, undergraduate musicians were devastated to learn earlier this year that practice spaces and music equipment was not as readily available as they had hoped.

“It’s obvious that the music scene is growing rapidly on campus, and it’s a great time to be here,” said Matt Billy, guitarist of band Ambary Lake. “But I think [Ramapo] should consider building a space solely for music students with enough equipment. There are piano rooms in the Berrie Center, but we don’t really have practice spaces for small bands.”

The rapid growth of the music scene at Ramapo calls for an equal growth in the College’s attention toward the needs of the program.

Groups such as the recently created Ramapo Concert Band saw success during its first semester at Ramapo College, and the Ramapo Chorale performed to large crowds at the beginning of December.

As is the case every semester, open mic nights occur weekly, hosted by CPB on Tuesday nights and by RMC on Thursday nights of the following week.

With both the College Programming Board and the Ramapo Music Club hosting open-mic nights, small concerts and battle of the bands shows, student performers have been given, not only a place to meet other on-campus musicians, but also to reach an audience outside of Ramapo.

“We just performed this past Friday, which got us in contact with an audio production company,” said Jenn O’Hagan, vocalist of up-and-coming student band Third Floor. “I was pleasantly surprised with the music scene when I came here, and now [our music] is kind of extending off campus for us.”

Third Floor is one of the hidden-gem music ensembles that students are beginning to discover. An alternative rock band that met and began performing together after connecting through a mutual friend in a first year seminar course, Third Floor has taken advantage of the various opportunities presented at Ramapo and are slowly but surely seeing the impacts.

In terms of WRPR, students feel that the restoration of the radio station will not only allow students interested in radio broadcasting to grow, but will also give Ramapo musicians an incredible chance to be featured on the air.

With room to grow and areas to improve upon, Ramapo College has much to consider in terms of their music programs. For now, students can rest easy, knowing that on-campus musicians are more passionate and dedicated to music now more than ever.