The WolfPack Den now offers live music
“Expressively entertaining” describes the musical styles of talented individuals on campus, Khari Petty, Jacob Fischer, Tom Hussey and Peter Borowicz.
Ken Virden, WolfPack Den manager, decided to incorporate more activities in the Den for the students’ enjoyment. He had previously organized pool tournaments, foosball and video game tournaments. Even with all these recreations he felt something was missing. In March he received approval to have live music in the WolfPack Den.
As a result, Virden’s first task was to find musicians. He contacted music instructors Tim Patterson and Brian Short. In the span of three weeks Virden was able to construct a musical act.
Peter Borowicz was spotted in the hallway by Patterson and he recommended him as one of Virden’s picks. Borowicz plays the guitar and drum set. His musical influences include Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix. Borowicz’s favorite song to play is Green Day’s “Basket Case.”
Virden also approved Petty and the other musicians to play throughout the week between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Petty is working on his degree, double-majoring in music education and English education. He intends to transfer to UW-Madison. After graduation, Petty has aspirations to become a high school teacher.
“I’m a freshmen right now. It’s pretty great. You get to meet your peers and teachers more than you ever could in high school. And as a musician it’s easier to connect with other musicians,” Petty said.
Fischer teaches jazz theory and jazz guitar. His musical talents include guitar and mandolin.
“I have never actually played jazz until this semester, and he [Fischer] opened my horizons toward it and I’m taking a jazz class this semester,” Petty said.
Petty listens to a lot of instrumental music like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. Petty also finds interest in YouTube sensations like Sungha Jang, claiming he does not discriminate musically. Petty has never been in a band, but can play anything with strings and frets, he said. He also has experience in percussion. His favorite song to play is “Black Bird” by the Beatles. He laughs as he explains that he is not a singer.
Petty said his favorite part of performing is feeling established as a musician and being recognized on stage.
The overall consensus between the performers is that it is difficult to play in such a busy place where the focus is abstract. Despite the challenge of the music-playing experience, many of the performers express more concern with learning how to play Lynyrd Skynyrd “Free Bird” to appease the audience’s frequent request.
The overall setup is simple. The musicians were contacted through the music department and they all had to audition first. They typically perform two at a time during lunch. Because they are taking time out of their academic day, they are compensated $15 a piece per 40-minute session twice a week. Many of them will fill in whenever they can or when necessary.
“Over the summer time we’ll look at more ways to improve the live music, but this was a great start,” Virden said.