Big things often have small beginnings, as music major Prisilla Contreras Soto has discovered.
Contreras Soto was planning a senior project to raise money in support of the music department’s All-Steinway School Initiative. She thought she might hold a bake sale and a small on-campus concert. But she reconsidered after talking with music department faculty.
“They told me those were just too small,” she says. “I needed to think a lot bigger.”
Instead, Contreras Soto wound up creating a group called Students for Steinway and organizing a Thursday, May 22, concert with five bands at the Glass House in Pomona. The Glass House is owned by Perry Tollett, who is a Cal Poly Pomona alumnus and supporter of the Steinway initiative.
Contreras Soto is hoping that at least 500 people come to hear the five bands, which are:
- Sometimes a Ghost: A math pop/post rock band originally from West Covina. This group consists of drums, bass and two-part guitar harmony.
- Terra Alta: A trio of musicians from Rowland Heights with the musical styling of reggae fusion including elements of rock, blues and funk.
- Good Rocky’s Revolver: A four-member band from Pomona whose music includes rock, blues and a garage band feel.
- Hour6: An alternative/Christian/rock band from Southern California that has played in many venues, including Dodger Stadium.
- Dope by Design: A six-member hip hop band that incorporates saxophone, electric guitar and percussion sound, and has performed at SXSW in Austin.
The bands are not only donating their appearance, they are also promoting the Students for Steinway concert and selling tickets, Contreras Soto says.
The Steinway initiative aims to enhance the university’s music programs by raising $2.5 million to purchase and maintain 29 Steinway grand pianos.
About 30 students are volunteering to organize the concert, and many are graduating next month, including Contreras Soto. All of them recognize the irony that they may never get to play the Steinway pianos that they are raising money for, she says.
“But it just seems like it’s a step in the right direction, and we all want to see the department grow. It’s grown so much since I’ve gotten here,” she says. “And we know that we need a lot more improvements than just the pianos, like studio equipment. So we’re hoping that this is the first step into reaching all those little goals we have as a department.”
Iris Levine, professor and chair of the music department, says she is impressed by the students’ efforts.
“I am hoping for a big turnout at the Glass House concert, and I am hoping that the students will continue the Students for Steinway project next year as well,” Levine says. “The Steinway initiative will be a success with the support of the entire campus. I am so proud that the students are doing their part.”
Contreras Soto hopes that someone will take over leading Students for Steinway after she graduates next month and that the concert will become an annual event. An aspiring concert promoter, Contreras Soto says she is willing to come back and offer her guidance to whoever takes over.
“It helps a lot of us. Trying to get into the music industry is all about networking,” she says. “It’s good for all of us to stay in contact, to connect well and be able to work well together.”
The concert will begin at 7 p.m. at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St. in Pomona. Tickets are $10 through the Cal Poly Pomona Music Box Office in Building 24, room 188, or $15 through the Glass House website.