Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winter means it's time to jam at Cuyamaca College's annual music fest

Winter Wonder Jam -- Cuyamaca College’s homegrown music fest put on by students in the Music Industry Studies program and featuring four local bands and musicians playing pop, rock and folk music – is set for 7-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, in the performing arts theater.

Open to the public, admission is $5 or a donation of three canned goods to the San Diego Food Bank. Ample free parking will be available at the college at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego.

The event will showcase four bands rocking one of the most acoustically sound venues in East County: 

§  Mockingbird, an Americana, pop group consisting of a family trio of mother Tara Alvarado playing snare and hi hat drums; father Diego Alvarado on Telecaster guitar and vocals; and their son Diego on bass guitar. They give a unique spin to covers that span everything from Johnny Cash to the Violent Femmes, fusing them all together with their large collection of original tunes. They are currently working on their album, including the songs “Picture of You” and “Lover” that were recently played on the KPRI 102.1 Homegrown Hour.

§  Barrie Dempsey, an Americana folk musician and BMI member who has been involved in the music industry since the late ‘60s. He recorded in the same New York studio as John Lennon and Yoko Ono and music legend Lou Reed. He met Lennon and Ono in the studio while they were laying down tracks for the “Imagine” album. He also wrote a song called "Safe and Sound," which earned him a semi-finalist spot in the 2014 Song of the Year contest.

§  Feelgood, an indie rock band whose vocalist and guitarist have been friends since they were 15. They moved to California from a small farming town in northern Illinois and recently performed at the Battle of the Bands at the House of Blues in September and October. They are now vying in the 2014 Guitar Center Singer/Songwriter of the Year competition for a chance to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

§  Little Heroine is a three-–member rock band whose musicians Michael Shannon, Adam Sisco and Jonny Beamer have played venues all over San Diego for the past several years and hope to start traveling in the coming year. The band just released a 12-song record through Ursa Polaris Records.


The fifth annual holiday bash is an all-ages event with food, refreshments, and always eclectic performances.

The entirely student-produced event is designed to teach students what it takes to put on a large-scale production, said co-instructor Annie Zuckerman. The students handle every aspect of the concert from auditioning bands, developing a marketing plan, creating posters and fliers, promoting the concert via social media, setting up the event, managing the stage transitions from one band to the next, and running the live sound – all under the tutelage of the faculty and staff from the Performing Arts Department.

“The aim of the class and the concert is to give the Music Industry Studies students hands-on experience working on skills in order to prepare them for careers in music and related industries,” Zuckerman said. “It is also a wonderful opportunity for the college to promote and support local artists.”

Music Industry Studies is a transfer degree program unique locally to Cuyamaca College that combines classes in music theory, literature, and performance with studies in music technology and business. The festival is the product of one of the program’s classes, the Music Industry Seminar.

The class is broken up into teams, with each group assigned a specific task. The seminar class has so much to offer that students take it for four semesters, each time learning a new skill. During the spring, the students put on the Coyote Music Festival, an even larger outdoor event. And it isn’t just music students, but graphic design, art and business students who are recruited to take the class. Zuckerman leads the seminar along with music instructor ­­­­­­­­­­­Taylor Smith. 

For more information, including links to bands performing at the festival, go to the student-created Facebook page. For further information about the Music Industry Studies program, go to www.cuyamaca.edu/performingarts/programs.asp#music or call (619) 660-4322.