Monmouth’s student-run record label Blue Hawk Records (BHR) held auditions and accepted song submissions for its 22nd Compilation Album on Wednesday, Feb. 1. at Woods Theatre.
According to Joe Rapolla, Chair and Specialist Professor for the Department of Music and Theatre Arts, there were a record-breaking number of auditions for this semester’s To-Be-Named compilation, which is set to release on Friday, April 21.
“It was one of our most popular auditions to date. We heard and considered over 25 auditions/submissions from students all over the University, including the schools of business, science, humanities, as well as student-athletes; even employees inquired about auditioning,” emphasized Rapolla.
Upon careful consideration, BHR artists and repertoire (A&R), management, and other team members evaluated each song submission, ultimately selecting eight songs to appear on the spring album.
“I was so impressed with the team. After listening to over 25 songs, they stayed to discuss, debating respectfully and considerately, to decide on what should go on the album,” continued Rapolla. “Also, it’s the song that is evaluated, not the performance or development of the artist. It’s the team’s job to develop the song and artist.”
Patrick Robbins, a sophomore music industry student and member of the BHR Press/Marketing/Publicity team, elaborated on the team’s decision-making process.
He began, “Choosing which songs appear is the toughest part of the night as they are only a fraction of all the incredible auditions we had this semester. As far as what we look for, we tend to think about the song’s potential, as well as how much work we would have to do in the studio to get the song ready for release.”
The team makes their decisions that night, notifying all auditioning artists whether they made the compilation.
Rapolla summarized, “So, they consider if the song, is for one, a song: does it have a beginning, middle, and end? Is it recordable given the time and resources constraints?”
“Without a separate recording budget for BHR, we must partner with the Advanced Record Production class, which is held at Lakehouse Recording Studios, to record,” added Rapolla.
Jillian Bernstein, a junior music industry student and President of Monmouth’s Music Alliance, was one of the chosen artists for this compilation. She explained the series of events that took place prior to her receiving the news of her song’s acceptance.
“I auditioned for the album with the song I had initially written for my songwriting class. Likewise, I had recently watched the movie Dead Poets Society and really took the phrase ‘carpe diem’ to heart. It was a whim of a decision, but I figured it didn’t hurt to try!” said Bernstein.
Haley Hozella, a senior music industry student who was also chosen for the compilation album, discussed the process of writing a song and auditioning. “Writing songs requires a lot of vulnerability, so auditioning in front of my peers was a bit nerve-wracking. Overall, it felt nice to talk about how I created my song and then have the opportunity to play it in front of others,” she said.
“It is beyond exciting to be chosen for the album! I went into the audition trying not to have too high of expectations because I wanted to allow myself the chance to just be proud for mustering up the courage to submit a song in the first place,” continued Hozella. “Needless to say, being selected felt pretty surreal. This is also my last semester, so it feels bittersweet to be included on this project… Blue Hawk has been such an integral part of my college experience at Monmouth.”
Robbins concurred, “I couldn’t be more excited [for the album’s release]! We have amazing artists and songs coming, and we can’t wait for our fellow students to hear what these artists have in store!”
“This is going to be another great album and another project where we will, again, be breaking new ground,” ended Rapolla.