CreativeRush pair bring new music program to Wichita
Whether you've been paying attention or not, CreativeRush has been cultivating artistic community in Wichita for almost four years. And tomorrow night marks the launch of its brand new music-centric program Songwriter Studio.
CreativeRush founder Kylie Brown and her longtime First Tuesday Talk moderator (and F5 contributor) Torin Andersen have been working hard the past few months to bring this new program to life.
Born out of a conversation with an out-of-town musician friend last summer, Brown realized CreativeRush was ready to branch into music — a natural progression considering her lifelong musical background as a cello player.
Brown then approached Andersen, the self-described "mostly go-to moderator" for more than two years, about playing a role in Songwriter Studio.
"Being a musician, [it felt like] a natural fit for me to moderate and host the music portion of CreativeRush," Andersen said. He's been playing in the local instrumental rock band, Spirit of the Stairs, for 12 years, and he describes fan interpretation of the work as "wild."
According to Andersen, experiences at shows and listening at home produce a variety of reactions.
"Allowing fans of whomever is performing at Songwriter Studio to respond in a public forum directly after [the listening] experience will elicit a limitless amount of surprise and intrigue," Andersen said. "That dialogue between artist and listener will foster a better understanding of what the experience is for both parties."
Dialogues between artists and audience have been central to CreativeRush programming since its inception, and the new addition of Songwriter Studio is no different. The event will feature an intimate music performance by Wichita-native Rudy Love Jr. punctuated by questions from Andersen about the songwriting process and a Q&A session with the audience.
While planning the event, Brown said she struggled to identify the perfect sound for Songwriter Studio's first musician. By chance on Facebook, she saw that Rudy Love Jr. would be in Wichita for a few weeks. Brown was struck by the thought: "He has the sound I want!" and she quickly contacted him figuring it would be a long shot.
"He messaged me back a couple of hours later, absolutely thrilled to be asked," Brown said. "He has original music with heart and soul and we can't wait for him to share his stories and music."
Currently, CreativeRush is most associated with its monthly First Tuesday Talk, which features a panel of local creatives and a moderator discussing an ever-changing topic. When asked how the new program would fit in with the First Tuesday Talk experience, Brown and Andersen were quick to call it a continuation of that idea, but both found ways to underline its newness.
"It's an upgraded experience from our First Tuesday Talk," Brown said. Andersen agreed and continued on, saying: "The performance element [makes] this a wholly new approach."
"First Tuesday Talk has always been about…the knowledge of the artist's background and current work [and] peering through their eyes to see how their experience shapes the way they respond to the topic," Andersen said. "Songwriter Studio will allow everyone to experience what the artist produces firsthand — generating an immediate connection."
Connection and community play a major role in most of CreativeRush's projects, and Songwriter Studio collaborates with a variety of sources — not only on a professional level, but on a training level as well.
During planning stages, Brown put out a call for tech volunteers to help run cameras, lighting, sound, and other facets of the program. She received a good amount of response and she's proud to offer hands-on experience to volunteers who are hungry to learn. And Jeff Corbett of Tourbox is also generously donating his time, audio and light equipment.
Part of Brown's vision for Songwriter Studio involves a live video element and this vision led her to contact Eric Zoller and Lonny Quattlebaum at Digital Brand. For March, Brown is renting their equipment and expertise, hoping to capture some of the magic that shows like BBC Live Lounge offer.
Originally slated to debut at the Fisch Haus on Commerce, Brown and Andersen had to move due to some last minute logistical issues. Now, Songwriter Studio will be performing at the Vertigo 232 Gallery (above Hewitt's Antiques) on Market for the month of March.
Brown and Andersen made a point to thank Mark Walker who helped them secure a new spot on extremely short notice. (They're now on the hunt for a new location for the coming months, and Brown asked that any interested spots contact her.)
This location change underlines the challenge of creating community-focused nonprofit programming. Brown and Andersen have poured their time and talents (for free) into this new program for Wichita, and all they can do is hope that the community supports them through attendance.
It's about fostering conversations about creativity and community, inspiration and musicianship; it's about recognizing the talent that exists in our community and fostering it.
Or as Brown so nicely put, "[you don't] just leave and think, 'Well, that was nice. I'm glad we went.' We hope [you] leave with appreciation for all of its levels. No matter the age or experience level, we hope it will give spark to [you]."
The next two months are booked with artists: April will feature Evasive Flowers and May's performance will host the Wrong Kata Trio.