Breathtaking Bands of BVU: “Rock Ensemble”

Allyssa Ertz, Arts & Life Editor

“Revival” and “Beaver Fever,” two bands of best friends took the stage by storm Wednesday, November 8 at 7 PM for a cultural ACES event.  This performance, called the “Rock Ensemble,” featured an assortment of various songs by both groups, undying energy, and an undeniable chemistry within the performers that brought the ensemble to life.

This production was put together by the Instrumental Ensemble class taught by Dr. David Klee.  The class has given it the name “Rock Ensemble,” which caught on as the formal name of this ACES.

The production began with Revival, consisting of sophomores Job Saunders as a vocalist, guitarist, pianist, and drummer, Shay Brown as a vocalist and on piano, Kylee Muyskens as a vocalist/pianist, and Sam McLachlan on cajole and drums, and junior Connor Essary as a vocalist and on guitar.  This group also featured Dr. Klee on bass.

Revival took a variety of approaches to different artists with Job Saunders and Kylee Muyskins taking lead vocals on a majority of the songs.  Revival performed songs by artists such as Linkin Park, Ed Sheeran, The All American Rejects, and Skillet, and other similar artists.

This band held a more relaxed vibe, and with Muyskens on lead vocals a lot of the songs, her voice enraptured the crowd with her soft, rocker vibe.  Saunders added to this with his lead vocals, with a firm, strong voice that showed he truly was enjoying himself up onstage.  Sound effects by other members added strategically to the performance, and Klee, McLachlan, Brown, and Essary provided a strong music background that made the band’s performance possible.

Beaver Fever includes sophomores Noah Bardwell on guitar, Jerzy Gillon as a vocalist, Sam McLachlan on drums, and Jack Fordyce on bass.  The juniors in this band are Christian Hughes on guitar and Alexis Bardwell as a vocalist, and seniors Josh Hilty as a vocalist and on drums and Jared Hansen on the keyboard.  Hilty took powerful, effective lead vocals for a majority of the songs performed, as well as Gillon taking a dazzling, enticing approach to several songs and Bardwell taking the lead for one song with her alluring, charming voice.

Beaver Fever took the stage second half with an indie rocker vibe to the entire band, incorporating a few classic rock songs that everyone should know such as The Middle by Jimmy Eat World and All Star by Smash Mouth, but also throwing in some great songs by The 1975, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Modest Mouse.

The band altogether commanded the audience’s attention with their compelling vocalists, skilled and detail oriented guitar players, and exceptional pianist.  The drummers kept the beat for the entire show with explosiveness at perfect times, which held the band together quintessentially.

“I thought it went well.  There were a few little mess ups, but I think overall it sounded good,”  Bardwell said about the overall performance.

This group has been rehearsing together since the beginning of the semester.  One song might take around four hours to learn, four to five run throughs to get it down really well.  However, it depends on the instrument or difficulty of vocals and how well the member may have known the song before, along with other various possible effects.

The class normally rehearses twice a week, but once the performance began to get closer, they practiced every night.  It can get to be stressful, but in the end, it is such a satisfying feeling to have accomplished the feat of preparing an entire show to perform to an audience.

Dr. David Klee, Associate Professor of Instrumental Music and Director of Jazz Studies/Music Production and Technology, teaches the Instrumental Ensemble course and performed in the show itself, as mentioned earlier.  He oversees the class effectively and gives his input when necessary, but lets the group take the reins as to what they want to do because he knows that they have great ideas and that they are perfectly capable of accomplishing what they want to do.  According to the students in his class, he is exceptionally skilled at anything musical.

“Dr. Klee is literally the  He is the most cool, laid back, he literally can play anything you give him, he’s beyond talented.  Like, it’s crazy.  He’s like a madman when it comes to music,” said Jerzy Gillon.

Along with the wonderful performance both of these bands put on for the night and their talented professor’s participation, the most essential piece of this show that was most evident to any audience member was the true chemistry the band has with each other.  Every person in the band emphasized the fact that the best part of this class and performance is the fact that they all get to spend time together.

“We all have good chemistry.  We’re all friends, we literally hang around each other 24/7.  So, it’s easy for us.”  Gillon adds.

Each member that was spoken to about the class genuinely expressed the fact that this group that performed together gets along wonderfully and that they spend a majority of their time together.  It was especially noticeable onstage viewing the show as an audience member.  Even when a mistake was made, a laugh was shared between the performers and you could tell that they just enjoy playing the music that they love together and sharing their love for music while creating relationships that will last a lifetime.

Sam McLachlan added, “I really like when we’re actually performing, looking at the other musicians, you know, like they’re playing and they turn around and look at me and we like connect at that moment.  We’re just really into it, and that’s what I love about performing.”