New Paltz Music Collective Hosts Third Build-A-Band Event

Name tags, Billy Joel and Valentine’s candy set the stage for last Friday’s mingling musicians looking for their future bandmates. Now, in its third semester running, New Paltz Music Collective’s (NPMC) Build-A-Band Event brings student musicians of all experience levels together to mix and meet not only future bandmates but new friends too.

Created by Birgitta Cockburn, former NPMC Vice President, in the Fall 2022 semester, Build-A-Band started off as an ice-cream social that offered a space for student musicians to meet other musicians and build connections. Even without the ice cream, those values held strong this semester as vocalists, guitarists, drummers and all sorts of other musicians came together to discuss genre interests, playing experiences and the local scene. Though the event is called Build-A-Band, many attendees were open to jam with others, setting up casual meetups that would hopefully lead to something even greater. Build-A-Band and the connections made wouldn’t have been possible, however, without the coordination and efforts of the NPMC.

Described as “a student-run organization dedicated to bringing live, free, safe and sober concerts to campus,” by Nicola Kelly, a third-year music major  with a concentration in violin and the head of promotions and social media, the NPMC works with local bands and SUNY New Paltz to host open mics, coffeehouses and special holiday performances. Along with bookings, NPMC also has their own zine, welcoming submissions such as art, poetry and other creative works as part of their semesterly themes. 

Kelly recalled her experience joining in the Spring 2022 semester, not only being in search of a new group, but wanting to truly dive into the business of show booking. From contacting bands to managing finances, Kelly highlighted many factors that contributed to the work the NPMC does to put on shows, beyond the music itself. “It all seems very complicated, but it’s actually a lot of fun to sort of get to like, build an entire show from scratch,” she said.

The NPMC, along with its Build-A-Band event, is not limited to solely music majors, but all people of all majors, so long as there’s a vested interest in music. Having different people within the organization aids in their work, as they delve into a variety of areas and events, while still maintaining a common purpose of promoting local musicians and keeping the New Paltz scene alive and well. Though they’ve had some setbacks with spaces, such as the Multi-Purpose Room being closed for renovations, the NPMC is seeking alternatives, expanding into the campus theaters to host their shows.

As for what students could look forward to this following semester, Kelly revealed that this upcoming Earth Day, April 27, NPMC will be collaborating with the Outing Club as part of an annual Earth Day Festival. Performances ranging from acoustic to electric, even open mic opportunities, will be offered, all in the effort of advocating for sustainability and environmentalism. Kelly hopes for it to be a day where “everyone comes out, gets involved, spends the day outside and just has a good time.”