Usually passed back and forth between campus orgs, The Mug will host a welcome-back concert Thursday night orchestrated by both ViCE Jazz and NoViCE. But with few students in their organizations before the year started, the planning of the show fell largely on the directors of the two groups. Zack Wilks ‘17 of NoViCE and Ben Parra ‘15 of ViCE Jazz spent the summer collaborating, working to find artists that represent a wide range of music tastes.
Though the suggestion to collaborate came from an authority figure within ViCE, Wilks and Parra embraced this idea. “I think it’s a good way, especially for the freshmen who might come to the show, to get a feel for the range of different styles that come to campus because NoViCE and ViCE jazz tend to get drastically different bands,” said Wilks. The bands booked at Thursday’s show span from self-identified funky gypsy jazz to raunchy post-hardcore sound. ViCE Jazz is sponsoring Evolfo Doofeht, a pop-funk group from the Boston area. NoViCE continues to be the supplier of the up-and-coming and booked BLUFFING, Big Neck Police, and The Gradients.
This diverse show serves as a harbinger for a year of cross-organizational collaboration for these subsets of ViCE. Both Wilks and Parra are enthusiastic about future partnerships. “[Working together] gives us an opportunity to do things we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise, especially if we collaborate at the end,” said Parra. “We’ll have a bunch more money than either of us would have had individually to do something really cool, and that might cater to a different musical sensibility than Danny Brown, or whatever, on a different side of the spectrum.”
Not only do the groups hope to work together more in the future, but they also look forward to partnerships with groups off campus. Parra and Wilks both are working to draw inspiration from as many places as possible. “I’m trying to do a lot of collaborations,” said Parra. “I’m working with this organization called Stereo Cure, which is based at Oberlin College, LA and in NY [to get some shows like that at Vassar]. So that’s a great way to get some stereo cure artists at Vassar and also collaborate with orgs on campus as well.”
In searching for ways to infiltrate the Vassar bubble with new musical voices, these organizations had to refocus their goals. For NoViCE, this has meant committing themselves to diversity of musical representation. “[NoViCE] is probably the best form besides student music to get voices that wouldn’t be heard, at least musically, on campus,” said Wilks. “In the past, NoViCE hasn’t been great about getting bands fronted by lesser-heard voices, whether that be female voices or basically not white and male.”
Hoping to create new shared experiences, these subsets of ViCE are committed to serving the newest generation of Vassar music tastes. And many students are reaping the benefits of attending shows that serve as an alternate to what is considered to be under the mainstream. “Yes, I love Middle School Mug Night, but attending ViCE and NoViCE shows have greatly influenced me as an artist,” said Soraya Perry ’17 of grunge band Marshmallow Tart Vomit. “My new project, Marshmallow Tart Vomit, is something different and very much alternative, and I’m glad that NoViCE has created the space for different sounds to have a venue as well as an audience.”