Wilmington College band recording CDs; audio streaming from July 1st

WILMINGTON — Fans of Wilmington College’s Quaker Thunder Pep Band won’t have to wait for football season to hear favorites like College Fight Song, Devil with the Blue Dress and The Final Countdown.

Beginning Friday, July 1, these tracks and others from the College’s instrumental bands that make up the album, Sounds of the Season, will begin streaming on popular audio platforms such as Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music.

The Pep Band, the WC Jazz Ambassadors and a trio from the chamber music class recorded a 14-track compact disc this spring to get hands-on experience of another way of doing what they love: playing music .

Director Stephen Wadsack said the COVID pandemic has limited performance opportunities over the past two-plus years as distancing requirements have curtailed the Pep Band’s regular football and basketball game venues and its normal concert program. Indeed, most basketball games for the past two seasons have been played without an audience or with a very limited audience – and without a group.

Wadsack recalled the scenario in which the band had to rehearse outdoors with members at least six feet apart. “Rehearsing socially distanced music creates challenges. Sheet music blew everywhere on windy days and we experienced sonic delays when one end of the band was 60 feet from the other,” he said. “It was difficult for the students not to be able to play basketball games and concerts.”

“I was looking for something to do with the students that would give them more performance experience,” Wadsack said of the recording. Rehearsals took on a renewed sense of urgency and focus as the musicians realized they were working towards the sure thing of recording an album.

Wadsack booked time in April at the Sabbath Recording Studio in Cincinnati. They recorded one section at a time for several days: brass, woodwinds and percussion, which was a unique experience for a band accustomed to playing completely intact.

“When the red light comes on and you have a heartbeat, you have to be ready,” he said of the recording. “They loved the environment and handled the studio experience very well.” Indeed, several pieces were recorded in “one punch”.

Sounds of the Season features a wide variety of songs the band played at football and basketball games. Band members were closely involved in the selection process. The 2021-22 academic year certainly ended on a high with both the recording sessions and the return to live practice.

In the instrumental portion of the Spring Concert, the Quaker Thunder Pep Band played a well-received set of familiar game tunes. Additionally, a new ensemble, the WC Jazz Ambassadors, was introduced playing Duke Ellington’s C-Jam Blues and a trio from the Chamber Music class performed a Jimi Hendrix classic, Little Wing.

The Jazz Ambassadors and the trio known as QnB3 feature on the album.

A limited number of paper CDs will be used for instrumental music program recruitment and fundraising.

“Recording in a studio was a really cool experience,” Wadsack said. “Many students had never experienced music in this way and may never again.”

The CD depicts Wadsack’s swansong at Wilmington College as he leaves this summer to become professor of trumpet and director of the jazz program at Wright State University. He arrived at the College in the fall of 2018 and took over the Pep Band with five members. No less than 50 are expected to join the ranks of the group this fall.

“The recording is a great representation of what we were able to do here,” he said. “That really sums up my experience at Wilmington College.”

Zachary Schecter plays trumpet at the Quaker Thunder Pep Band Spring Concert.

Jack L. Goldstein