This spring, the 48 Hour Magazine will be complemented by a similarly time-crunched music experiment, The 48 Hour Band Project. Participants will be grouped into random bands, each with the goal of performing completed original material at the end of a 48-hour timeframe.
The project will begin at noon on Friday, Feb. 21, when a list of constraints, including themes and required lyrics, will be revealed to the participating members. Subsequent to this announcement, each band will be provided with a practice space on campus to produce an original song that connects to the project’s overarching theme, as well as a number of songs from which they can choose to cover.
Ford Fellow Piers Gelly ’13, one of the co-creators of the new project, explained that Friday and Saturday provide time for participants to learn the songs and practice together.
“We will set aside Friday and Saturday so people can practice two times as a group for about an hour each,” Gelly said.
Ethan Hill ’16, another co-creator, discussed the challenge of finding space for the bands to practice.
“At this point, we don’t have much of a plan to make that happen, nor all of the sound equipment to make it a reality,” Hill said. “My hope is that there will be enough seniors taking part in the project that bands can just meet and practice in their houses.”
Gelly has already begun soliciting prospective students’ names and their respective instruments.
“In two weeks, we will make sure everyone is still on board,” Gelly said. “We will pair them into groups that will [each] make up about a four-person band.”
Ben Zucker ’15, Julius Bjornson ’14, and Anna Flurry ’17 are all student musicians who have already signed up for the event.
“The analogy between forming a magazine in 48 hours and a band in 48 hours is really interesting,” Zucker said. “I am sure that everyone will have a different process, and that will definitely be the biggest challenge.”
Bjornson explained that the experiment will challenge participants to be fully immersed in their bands and force them to share their own ideas.
“It will be challenging trying to write something with people you have never work with before, in that span of time,” Bjornson said. ”It’s hard enough to produce material with people you are familiar with. However, this might make things easier. Since you are around people you haven’t worked with before, you are forced to throw out ideas.”
Flurry said she thinks that editing peoples’ ideas into stable and coherent works in such a short timeframe might prove a challenge.
“Everyone at Wesleyan is extremely creative and there are going to be a lot of great ideas thrown out there,” Flurry said. “The hard part will be figuring how to work together in a group setting to write a great piece, while still valuing everyone’s opinions.”
The rehearsal period will conclude on Sunday at noon, when all students at the University will be able to attend a festival to watch the debut performances of each band.
“I am very excited to spend time working in a very focused matter,” Bjornson said. “It’s not something that happens all that often. It’s always fun to throw yourself into something crazy every once in awhile.”
Zucker also expressed his enthusiasm for this project.
“Given the short period of time provided, [the 48 Hour Band Project] should generate a lot of excitement,” Zucker said. “Hopefully that excitement will turn into some momentum.”
Following the festival on Sunday, the songs performed will be posted on the 48 Hour Magazine’s website. There may also be tapes accessible for the participants so that they can preserve the results of the weekend.
“Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and it’s exhilarating to be able to share that with other people,” Flurry said. “One of the great things about Wesleyan is that the students are super supportive of each other. I think there will probably be a huge turnout for this event.”