From brass funk to identical twin quartets, UF is far from lacking in student talent.
Known for its diverse music community, Gainesville is home to plenty of groups and individuals making names for themselves as artists — especially college students. Some are inspired to pursue a new creative outlet with their friends, while others are looking to build the foundation for professional careers.
One example is Sooza Brass Band, composed entirely of current and former UF students that are classically trained in their instruments. A six-piece brass band made up of five horns and one drum kit, the version of the group seen today has evolved from multiple iterations of the same concept, receiving its current name almost three years ago.
The band consists of sousaphone player and veteran member Bianca Maesa, trumpet players Adrienne Widener and Ben Elgan, saxophone player Ryan Gamberino, trombone player Brian Burwell and drummer Austin DiVito.
Sooza recently released their debut album “Bananaland” in December. The band says that the music on the album, a mostly instrumental genre they innovatively refer to as “ADM” (acoustic dance music), is special because it was made over a span of three years by multiple members.
“We pulled it together all into one cohesive idea, but it's from a bunch of different places, and so for that reason I think there's at least one song on there that everybody can enjoy,” said Gamberino, a 20-year-old UF chemistry and music student.
While the band’s upcoming performances have been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, they hope to put out more music in the next few months and have some collaborations with other artists such as rapper Chizzy Beats in the works.
On the other end of the music spectrum, one quartet challenges the notion of being one of a kind.
Singing Double, an all-female barbershop quartet, consists of two sets of identical twins: UF students Kelly and Krystal Majid, who sing tenor and baritone, and Santa Fe College students Hannah and Emma Paschal, who sing lead and bass parts.
The group started in Tampa as four friends in their high school chorus who went on to embrace their love for barbershop harmony as a quartet. The quartet has participated and placed in multiple barbershop competitions. Singing Double were the first women to place first in the Next Generation Barbershop Junior Quartet Contest and placed fifth in the Sweet Adelines International Rising Star Quartet competition in 2019.The group also performed at the swearing-in event for Tampa mayor Jane Castor in May 2019.
While the makeup of the group makes Singing Double unusual, the quartet believes their distinctiveness comes from more than just sisterhood.
“There’s a big novelty factor that we have as twins, but I think the hard work we put in and the natural chemistry we have as best friends come together to create an incredible quartet sound that I feel so lucky to be a part of,” Kelly, a 19-year-old UF studio art freshman, said.
Singing Double is currently learning new music and preparing to perform with barbershop choruses in the state.
Contact Marlena Carrillo at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @marcar313.