Live music finally makes its return to campus this weekend; The Quadrivium Project, performing on Aug. 26 and 28 at Stewart Theatre, is a local tribute rock band composed of five talented faculty members from NC State.
At the dress rehearsal on Tuesday night, Rich Holly, executive director for the arts, offered some insight into the beginnings of the band. Holly plays some percussion and drums along with providing vocals for the group.
“I had an interest in performing live music,” Holly said. “So I had met with every single employee to see if anyone was interested. I then spoke to Gary Beckman. We talked about it for about an hour and then decided that we needed to make a faculty band.”
Beckman, director of entrepreneurial studies in the arts, performs as the lead guitarist for The Quadrivium Project. Kate Annett-Hitchcock, an associate professor of fashion, is the lead vocalist. Tom Koch, the associate head of the department of music, mesmerizes all with his keyboard. Tommy Holden, a professor in the department of health and exercise studies, rounds out the crew and plays bass guitar, keyboard and even supporting vocals.
Although all of the band members have full-time jobs outside of The Quadrivium Project, they still find time to practice and perform the music they grew up listening to. Koch in particular said he didn’t find it difficult to balance his work and his passion.
“I teach, and then I demonstrate what I teach,” Koch said. “But, keep in mind that I am not full time in the band, but rather, I accompany the band as a part-time [job]. Thus, it really isn't too difficult for me to balance both teaching and being in the band.”
Once all of the band members gathered in Stewart Theatre, it wasn't long before the sounds of guitar riffs and instrument tuning bounced off the walls of the theater. Holly, a multi-instrumentalist who began learning to play the drums at six years old, said playing unconventional tracks, such as “Watcher of the Skies” by Early Genesis, is one of his favorite parts about playing in The Quadrivium Project.
“It is not in 4-4 time,” Holly said. “Rather, it's in 6-4 time with syncopated rhythms. It’s something out of the ordinary, and it’s fun to perform.”
The Quadrivium Project’s performance is equally as psychedelic as the props they utilize. A giant, colorful pig descends into the performance, referencing Pink Floyd and its usage of balloon pigs in various live concerts. The Quadrivium Project’s live sets are anything but typical; Koch recalled an incident that occurred at one rowdy live show.
“At one of our shows we were playing, the music was so loud that the stage started to vibrate and shake,” Koch said. “It sent one of our guitars that was teetering on the edge of the stage tumbling down onto the floor, but luckily no one was hurt, and the guitar was fine.”
At the rehearsal, each band member was preoccupied with ensuring that everything was set up to the best of their ability in order to play to the best of their ability. There’s no denying that each member of The Quadrivium Project possesses a passion and respect for the music that it seeks to cover. When Koch was asked if he’d rather teach full time or tour full time, he answered frankly.
“Whichever pays the bills, I suppose,” Koch said. “But I personally wouldn't want to give up one or the other. It’d be wonderful to go touring for a year, but ultimately, I would love to return to teaching.”
For more information about the band, visit The Quadrivium Project’s Arts NC State page. Tickets are $8 for students and $15 for everyone else.