Sound Society has had a busy first year. 2015-2016 saw the club established with the goal of establishing more of a music presence on campus. What started out as simply having music playing at TGIFs or providing DJs for some of the HBS social events has turned into a full-fledged music entertainment powerhouse on campus.
It all starts with the students. One of the goals of the club has been to showcase the amazing talent that HBS students possess. We’ve hosted Pub Night and Spangler Night Live events featuring performances ranging from indie acoustic to Broadway show tunes. Sound Society was also a key contributor in two off-campus rock band events featuring the student band COLD CALL. Held at local concert venues, the performances drew more than 500 HBS students including a Battle of the Bands event with MIT Sloan where proceeds went to support cancer research. Not to be outdone, first year students also gathered talented students to form the band 3 Case Day. With Young Me & The Moons (2015), COLD CALL (2016) and 3 Case Day (2017) making their presence felt on campus, we’re pretty sure these students bands are here to stay.
It was also important for us to expose students to music-oriented cultural events on the Boston area. In late February, members of Sound Society joined the Handel & Haydn Society for its Bicentennial celebration at the Boston Symphony Hall. Over 60 members of the HBS community, including faculty and staff, gathered for the All Beethoven Concert, featuring forte pianist Robert Levin, Harvard University's Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of Music Emeritus. Following an amazing program showcasing Beethoven at his most lyrical and poetic in his Pastoral Symphony and Fourth Piano Concerto, the festivities continued at Brasserie JO where the HBS Sound Society was joined by the Handel and Haydn Society’s musicians and H2 Young Professionals group. We hope that this is just the beginning of a long lasting partnership.
Finally, Sound Society made great strides to connect students on campus with members of the music industry, bringing artists, managers and agents to campus for several Speaker Series events. These events were open to the broader Harvard community and beyond, and brought in music-loving students from Harvard College, Harvard Law School, Berklee College of Music, and more. The first of these events featured DJ/producer duo The Chainsmokers, whose song “Roses” recently made it to #8 on the Billboard Top 100.
2016 kicked off with an event featuring Australian touring artist Alison Wonderland and her manager, talking to students about her Red Bull sponsorship and connection with an anti-anxiety and depression organization in Sydney. The following week, Sound Society hosted six members of the business end of the industry, ranging from a writer at Billboard to a booking agent and the head of dance music programming at Spotify. It was a great chance for students to learn about all of the different roles within the music industry that are available to students after graduation. Finally, the HBS community was invited to hear from the manager of global phenomenon Kygo, who built the Norwegian artists’ career from scratch to one of the most popular musical artists of today.
What started out as a mission to enhance students’ experience at HBS through music eventually morphed into exposing students to many more facets of the music “industry.” With media and entertainment becoming more and more important for companies of all kinds to leverage to engage users, it’s important for HBS students to be exposed to opportunities that they may not have thought about otherwise. The music industry certainly needs smart people to figure out exactly how to make money in this new digital streaming economy, and it’s a good sign that so many artists and managers are willing to engage with the Harvard community.
I am proud to pass on club leadership to a new group of enthusiastic HBS students, and my hope is that when I come back for reunions in the future, Sound Society will continue to be a visible (and audible) presence on campus.