School of Performing Arts supports student bands

By Brittany Kelley, Freelance Writer

To many, music is more than a few notes on a scale. Music is a form of expression, an outlet of creativity. Dylan Boehmer and Andrew Nelson, both Music Industry juniors, met in choir their freshman year and began playing music together. They both appreciate music and wanted to showcase their talents in an entertaining way, which lead to the start of their cover band, Downtown Sound.

With Dylan on the mic and Andrew balancing singing, guitar and piano, they recruited Dominic Paczkowski for the drums and Joel Kingsley for the bass. Downtown Sound began marketing themselves to local venues and events on campus. When asked how they make it all work, they credit MSUM’s School of Performing Arts.

“MSUM is very supportive of student-run bands! We have been offered a lot of shows on campus,” Boehmer said “We’ve played in Kise, played for Dragon Days, and opened the 1711 Music Festival for AJR and The Bright Side. Those opportunities have helped us to get gigs around town as well, so it’s safe to say MSUM’s support has been crucial to our success.”

Most recently, Downtown Sound teamed up with the Theatre Department to write and perform all of the music to the play The Scream. Working closely with Director of Theatre Craig Ellingson, the band learned what it really takes to produce the entire track list for the performance.

“Downtown Sound was great to work with during the production,” Ellingson said. “Their contributions were invaluable to the success of this original piece of theatre.”

Following the play, the band was recognized with the Best Sound Design award from KCACTF (Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival) Region 5, being recognized for their creativity, hard work and success. Belonging to an institution that supports every dream, no matter the size, is just another factor that brought this band together.

“The experience was grueling, but also amazing because we learned so much about writing and performing, and we also learned so much about each other,” Paczkowski said.

Both Andrew and Dylan are in the Commercial Ensemble group on campus, taught by Dr. Michael J Krajewski, who teaches the in’s and out’s of being in a cover band.

“We’ve picked up a lot of good tips and tricks from Dr. Krajewski that we apply to Downtown Sound,” quotes Boehmer when asked how being in an Ensemble group has benefitted the band as well.

Downtown Sound plans to continue scoring gigs at popular venues in Fargo Moorhead, as well as performing at weddings. A long-term goal is to grow successfully as a band, and to relocate to a larger city. But for the Downtown Sound team, MSUM will always be the place where their dreams started to come true.