In a two-day jamboree on March12-13, stage crew, musicians and spectators merged once again for this year’s Total Backstage Access. The array of talent spanned from graduated students like Julian DeFelice, Collin Kelley and Ken Holmes, to Castleton professors like Robert Wuagneux and Phil Lamy. There were also local groups like Face Plant and Shuga Loaf and newcomers to the Castleton music scene.
There was comedic rap stylings, beat boxing, free styling, ’50s style rock and jam bands.
Tides of people ebbed and flowed during the switching of acts. The crowd consisted of friends of the bands, teachers, crewmembers and other performers. And although the crowd tallied 35 people at best, each group played with full enthusiasm, with a respectful cheer to follow.
The lighting was near professional, thanks to the director of TBA, Chad Voghell and the loyal “crew.” All along the floor was a checkerboard design in light. The sound echoed up to the momentous ceiling, far past the starry lights above. Drastic shadows of the band ran up the giant stage curtain that separated the back stage event from the rest of the theatre. The open range dance floor made it easy for dancers to twist and twirl without the risk of collision. Even crewmembers got a chance to dance.
“The sound quality was a reinforcement,” said solo guitarist Ben Guihan. “It was right on and everybody seemed to know what was up. All you have to worry about was your performance. Very high quality.”
The event was laid back enough for groups to pull out material they had never played before and to openly make mistakes and start over, and keep their humor when mishaps aroused. The crowd never ceased its support.
“If you have talent,” said former student Julian DeFelice, “you should sign up and see if playing to a crowd is something you like to do.”
“People get to bring out new material and be brave about it,” said Jake McLaughlin, pianist of the band “The Hairy Men,” a name that band members Pete Ginter, Cody Palmer, Keith Haley and McLaughlin were still tampering with. “It’s a great sensation to be able to get up on stage and show people, ‘this is me, and this is who I am.'”
Communication professor Robert Wuagneux took his solo act to the dance floor, where he paced about the room and got the crowd to sing along to classic rock along with some of his own melodies.
“They (TBA) hook you up and make you feel like you’ve been on the road for years,” Wuagneux said. “It brings out the younger people and lets them do their thing. So sign up and go for it.”
Closing the first night and opening on the 13th was the dark and hard hitting jam band Shuga Loaf, with nameless songs that threatened the 20-minute time limit. Each song was so long that they could only fit two songs in the first night, three the second night. If given the chance, the band would have kept playing all night.
“If you missed it,” said Ben Guihan “you should see it next time.