A musical master

By Samuel Charles

Peter Eldridge, a Grammy Award-winning vocalist and pianist, will be on campus this week to participate in the second series of Columbia’s Eclipse Master Class.

From 5 – 8 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the 1104 Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., Eldridge will give an hourlong performance and have a Q-and-A segment to help students and attendees.

“[The master class] is to allow students, musicians and attendees gain some insight on what an accomplished musician is doing and how they’re doing it,” said Sharod Smith, programming coordinator in the Office of Student Engagement.

Eldridge is one of the co-founders of the New York Voices, Grammy Award-winning vocal jazz ensemble, formed in 1987.

Though heavily inspired by jazz, the New York Voices also use Brazilian, R&B, classical and pop styles in their music. The group has performed at many high- profile venues in the U.S. and around the world, such as The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center, both in New York City.

The master class was organized and produced by the Audio Arts and Acoustics Department and the Student Programming Board. It’s sponsored by Fujitsu Ten, a Japanese speaker company supplying some of the equipment for the event.

In addition to performing on Oct. 29, Eldridge will be on campus two days prior, visiting classes in the Music Department and talking to groups of students on a more personal level.

“During [the two days before his performance] Peter will be going inside the classrooms for several different courses in the Music Department, giving one-on-one or small group instruction,” said Pantelis Vassilakis, chair of the Audio Arts and Acoustics Department.

The Audio Arts and Acoustics Department is responsible for the production side of the performance.

“We’re providing all the technical needs,” said Ki Shih, a senior audio arts and acoustics major and technical director of the master class. “We’re supplying the engineers, the stagehands and whatever equipment we need to get there.”

Shih said much goes into planning the technical logistics for an event like this.

Details such as power sources, noise levels and conflicting schedules with other events on campus all play a role in the planning process, Shih said.

The Student Programming Board is handling the organization and management of the class and has been putting it together for about two months, Smith said.

“These are event planning students,” Smith said. “[SPB is planning] everything from conception to execution. It’s a great marriage between two departments and two groups of students who don’t normally get a chance to work together.”

This is the first time the Audio Arts and Acoustics Department has worked with the Student Programming Board to help produce an event.

The class’s three-hour time frame will be divided up into different segments.

“From 6–8 p.m. the class will be held to give students insight on how certain songs were constructed, how certain things were arranged and what was the creative process behind this particular song,” Smith said.

Vassilakis said having multiple parties involved within the class’s production presents both advantages and problems.

“You have more than one mind,” Vassilakis said. “But communication can be difficult when there are so many parties and decisions have to be made.”

This is the second event the Audio Arts and Acoustics Department has organized with sponsorship from Fujitsu Ten. Last April, the department hosted Eddie Kramer, a record producer who has worked with Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

The Student Programming Board was not involved with the planning of Kramer’s visit but is lending its expertise in promoting and managing events, Vassilakis said.

“This time around it was much better than the first because of the involvement [of the Student Programming Board],” Vassilakis said. “They’re clearly so experienced in creating events.”