Curtain rises on Bennington Music Exchange

New program showcases young musicians' work


HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. — Local young musicians are set to share their original music with the public at a free concert Saturday, in the culmination of a Vermont Arts Exchange program, Bennington Music Exchange.

The 7 p.m. concert, "Emerging Six" at the Owl's Nest at the Hoosick Falls Armory at 80 Church St. will feature the original works of six young musicians: Taylor Hewins, Chayla Greenslet, Justin St. Clair, Cooper Mason, Rimmlee Wood and John Cuccuini, along with other tunes.

"This is the first time that they're debuting their works, their original works, that they've been working on," Matthew Perry, executive director of the VAE, said of the concert.

Bennington Music Exchange is a new VAE program this year. It's designed to put the spotlight on talented young musicians through writing, recording and performance of original works, according to a press release from the VAE, which is based in North Bennington.

"It's been going on for several months," Perry said of the program. The participants have been working intensely in weekly sessions at Akin Studios, under the tutelage of Matt Scott and Sam Clement.

The goal is to get students thinking about why music sounds the way it does on recordings, and where songwriting and ends and recording and production techniques begin, Scott said in the release.

"Questions like these will help students articulate and realize the sounds they hear in their head, and help them to transform their work into a polished product," he said in the release.

Students have learned more about sound, and what goes on for musicians besides public performance.

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"A lot of musicians, I think, think it's all about getting on stage," Perry said. "Learning the background, the technical part of it, is so important. What I like is just seeing these kids learning so much more about music than what they're already getting, and they're asking questions, and they're excited."

All six student participants will perform their original work in the concert.

The idea for the program arose out of concert featuring local students that Perry attended a couple years ago.

"I always heard that some of the kids were really talented," he said. "It wasn't until I went and saw for myself at that point, I said, these guys need to be recording their work, and being backed up as a band. Really building on what they're already getting in the high school, which is pretty good."

Now, he said, it's been great to get them into a recording studio backed up by professional musicians.

The VAE plans to look into continuing the program, which was made possible by a grant from the Bennington Opportunity Fund for Bennington Youth.

"We're going to look," Perry said. "Obviously, it takes funding. We're going to see if we can grow it."

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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