Edge, Music

Frost group American Music Ensemble performs for first time at Okeechobee Fest

Songwriter Mel Bryant (senior), guitarist Aaron Hicks (senior) and keyboardist Sam Bierman (junior). Photo courtesy Colin McKinley

Moog and bass shook the tin-can stage at the Frost School American Music Ensemble’s first time performing at Okeechobee Fest. This past Friday, the group of nine performers and songwriters from the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music program woke up Chobeewobee Village with fresh pop, rock and R&B originals. From Mel Bryant’s emotive ballad “Bridges,” to Carter Vail’s twangy “Bojangle,” AME’s set list was the ride one might expect from a curated group of the country’s best music students.

“The show went great. We drew in crowds. People, musicians, approached us,” said junior Anh Le, one of AME’s writers. “Every time we do something like this, it inspires me to get better at songwriting and practice more to better my confidence.”

As the band’s second festival this semester (and ever), Okeechobee offered AME unparalleled exposure. The band had only played campus shows in the past, but this semester, it has stormed the Florida scene. After its jazz community debut at Ground Up Festival, AME performed for Okeechobee’s international crowd of rock, rap and EDM fans. In this swell of 30,000 potential connections, some approached the band’s director, Frost professor Daniel Strange, with gigs in mind.

“There were quite a few people coming up to me who were very interested in who the group was and how it was put together,” Strange said. “A few people wanted our cards. They were like, ‘I want to book you guys, you were fantastic. I want to fly you to my university; I want to fly you to this party I’m having.’ This may suddenly open up opportunities for paid work for the students, as well as showcase the students at new venues, whether educational or professional.”

The musicians, too, are keen on AME’s advancing reputation. Those who have been with the group several years, like guitarist Conor McCarthy, build hope for their own successes by watching the band grow.

“The reputation has grown so much,” McCarthy said. “The name has a brand and association to it. When it comes to the seniors who are graduating, we all intend to move forward with our careers, whether performing, songwriting or composing, using the knowledge we gained in AME.”

AME is no college jam band. With its melodic, pop-bending sound and engrossing showmanship, it’s no doubt the band’s broken into the national scene. To see the group for yourself, catch the whole crew — songwriters Will Newman, Anh Le, Carter Vail and Mel Bryant, guitarists Aaron Hicks and Conor McCarthy, bassist Sara Keden, drummer Garrett Fracol, keyboardist Sam Bierman, sound engineer Amanda Abate and director Daniel Strange — at 8 p.m. April 21 during CAMFest in Clarke Recital Hall.

March 9, 2017

Reporters

Haley Walker


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The college football season doesn't begin until the end of August, but that never stops media o ...

There were indications, even before Lonnie Walker IV was selected No. 18 by the San Antonio Spurs in ...

Add another player to the Miami Hurricanes' 2019 recruiting class. Defensive end Jahfari Harvey ...

From the onset, the Miami Hurricanes' plan was for the Carol Soffer football indoor practice fa ...

Gino DiMare on Tuesday stood in a spot that two men before him had crafted into a pinnacle of succes ...

At the University of Miami, employee recognition comes in many forms. ...

Community art project encourages the public to explore the vibrant downtown area of Coral Gables and ...

It appears that his third run for the presidency will be successful as he distances himself from the ...

Teachers tackle challenging questions at the Holocaust Studies Summer Institute. ...

A University of Miami lecturer explores the role of the front porch in black communities. ...

The University of Miami volleyball program will host nine ACC home matches and the Sunshine State Ch ...

Walker picked 18th overall by San Antonio Spurs, Brown 42nd by Detroit Pistons. ...

Gino DiMare was introduced as the 10th head baseball coach in Canes' history. ...

The University of Miami women's golf team had three individuals selected to the 2018 Atlantic C ...

Haley Templeton is set to travel to Detroit, Mich., on Friday to train and compete with the U.S. Wom ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.