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From Midday Music to After 6: Cornell’s daylong music scene

Students and faculty alike are able to express their creativity at Cornell University through the performance opportunities provided through the Department of Music.

Midday Music

The Department of Music created Midday Music to be a more casual performance in comparison to their typical full orchestral performances, breaking down the barriers between the audience and the performer.

A recent Midday Music session on Nov. 9 was titled “Living Trios,” a play off of Living Tree.

Elizabeth “Liz” Shuhan, a visiting professor at Cornell who played in this session, said each piece played was created for three people to perform.

Liz Shuhan performing (Left) with Erica Howard (Right) during their Midday Music session (Photo: Bec Legato/Ithaca Week)

“It always needed to be three people performing on the program,” said Shuhan.” We brought probably five or six trios, and we didn’t get rid of anything. We really liked what we kept so that’s how it began.”

Laurel Gilmer, the Event Manager for the Department of Music, emphasized the importance her organizational role has on the community.

“You get to see a lot of audience members come back to various different things that are quite diverse, which is really nice for me to see,” said Gilmer.

Shuhan performed alongside Mary Holzhauer, Julianna Pepinsky, and Erica Howard. Some of the composers included Gary Schocker, a flautist who works at Julliard, who wrote a trio for two flutes and a pianist to back the melody.

“It’s a treat to play this music,” Shuhan said when introducing Schocker’s piece.

Performing After 6

Midday Music by day and After 6 by night, the independent student organization at Cornell University, has become a large part of the Ithaca community. They made their mark after opening for Couch at Deep Dive last year and have become the two-time recipient of Big Red Icon, a music competition for Cornell bands to face off. The winners get to open for the Slope Day performance at the end of the spring semester.

After 6 performing as a group (Photo courtesy of @aftersixmusic/Instagram)

The organization originally began in 2012 as a jazz group, where students from every background and major joined to perform. As new groups started to form, new and exciting opportunities arose.

The current group features three singers, a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, a person on the keys, a trumpet player and a saxophone player.

Kaleb Kavuma, the bassist of the group, said having nine people allows for innovative and creative ideas to spark.

“A lot of the time, because we’re nine people, we all have amazing ideas,” said Kavuman. “I think the way we sort of see it is with a new group comes a sort of new slate.”

Summer Seward, a vocalist in the group, added onto Kavuman, speaking on their experience transitioning as a group from a club into a band.

“This year, we took something that was a club and made it into something that is now a band who’s releasing music, who’s doing things on their own, who’s setting their own chartering their own path.”

The Impact on Ithaca

The band After 6 said a large aspect of their experience in the area has been from performing for local venues and being able to interact with the community.

Kaleb Kavuma the bassist for After 6 (Photo: Bec Legato/Ithaca Week)

“Performing at local venues is how we make art, and how we were able to get those type of connections,” said Kavuma. “By playing at these events and being able to interact with Ithaca as a whole makes it more than just performing within Cornell.”

Lisa Shuhan spoke on having some members of the community in the audience and having children there.

“I loved it. I think sometimes as performers, we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to really demand such excellence from ourselves,” said Shuhan. “So, when the children got there, I was like, oh, this is great because it really added this lightness and this fun, they’re really there to enjoy an experience.”

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