Students take the stage at ‘Electric Gordyland’ performance


Macy Beal

Seniors Sam DuBose, Henry Cassel, Grant Fishman (not pictured) and Michael Harper perform on stage for Lab's 'Electric Gordyland' performance. A student-led show, it serves as the culminating project of Mr. Francisco Dean's "Student Studio Recording Project" class.

Olivia Griffin, Midway Reporter

Indie, rock, pop and classical music filled the middle school drama studio in Gordon Parks Arts Hall on May 9 when student groups from the “Student Studio Recording Project” put on “Electric Gordyland,” to cap their year-long independent study.

“I thought the turnout was not going to be as much as it did, and in reality it kind of felt like a really laid back concert, and the showout was great,” Ody Nikas, member of “Day Shift,” said. “The performances were really really great, and I thought that not so many people were working on this, when in reality, so many people have such a huge say in this, like all the engineers, all the performers, all the directors. It was really interesting to see all our music be handed out, very realistic and cool.”

This is all organic. These are kids who formed their own groups and they have an interest in playing together and recording together”

— Francisco Dean, teacher

Musicians had the chance to form their own music groups — all four of which performed on Thursday: “Maroon 3” with Emily He, Jessica Huang, and Elizabeth Lin; “Day Shift” with Amanda Cassel, Mira Costello, Nicky Edwards-Levin, and Ody Nikas; “918” with Katie Baffa and Lucia Kouri; and “Rooftop Parking” with Henry Cassel, Sam DuBose, Grant Fishman, and Michael Harper.

“This is all organic. These are kids who formed their own groups and they have an interest in playing together and recording together,” Fransisco Dean, the class’ teacher, said. Each musical group worked alongside engineers to learn the recording process and improve their performances.

A third of “Maroon 3,” Jessica Huang, made the trio with her close friends Elizabeth Lin and Emily He. She says that while preparing for Electric Gordyland, she’s gotten to learn what it’s like to play in a trio.

“We can listen to our recordings and learn from our mistakes that we made that time and it’s really interesting to hear things that you might not have heard while playing in the moment that you can hear in the recording,” Jessica says, reflecting on their preparation process for Electric Gordyland.

Lucia Kouri, a member of “918,” began singing with her partner Katie Baffa, more than a year ago. Taking part in Electric Gordyland though, and getting to work alongside sound engineers, has given Lucia and Katie the opportunity to legitimize their arrangements.

“Me and Katie have been able to get a lot of input from those students, and they have helped us reach a final outcome that we wouldn’t have been able to reach without their own ideas that they brought to the song,” Lucia said.

A student sound engineer, Cameron McCoy, records and sets up materials needed for live performances.

“Last year they just had us sitting and recording, using the board, and setting up,” Cameron said. He enjoyed monitoring sound at past performances and expects to do the same at Electric Gordyland this year.