Musicians unite under one organization

Musicians unite under one organization

By Elizabeth zinchuk

A Registered Student Organization that had no members before the fall 2012 semester now plays musical gigs around town.

The RSO, Musicians United, provides playing opportunities as well as a place to practice for non-professional students who enjoy playing music but don’t necessarily have the equipment to jam, said co-president Torin Hopkins, a senior from Highland Park studying physiology. The organization has played at parties and events such as the Student Center’s Coffee House Series, the Feb. 9 Saluki Thon event and breast cancer awareness walks.

Hopkins said Musicians United has been an group for two years, but he didn’t join until last year, when it became an official RSO. The group has about 20 students who volunteer their talents, he said.


Hopkins said Musicians United is not limited to a specific music style, and set lists differ at each show.

“We all have different types of music we like to play, and we create set lists based on who wants to play what song,” Hopkins said. “Our set lists are very diverse and we end up playing a lot depending on what venue.”

So far, Musicians United has offered its services for free around Carbondale, he said.

“There are plenty of opportunities to play music around Carbondale, and there are plenty of people who want musicians but don’t know exactly how to find them, or can’t pay them,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said many venues are simply looking for people who can play music on short notice. Musicians United allows members who may not be as popular to perform where they otherwise would not be able to, he said.

“It’s really nice because it’s reformulating the way musicians interact with a city such as Carbondale, because there is so much (opportunity) for musicians to play there, and a lot of people like to have their own bands,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said Musicians United usually gets together once or twice a week to practice a future venue’s set list, or just have a free-formed jam session. He said members can choose the songs and venues they would like to perform, but most members generally attend shows and take turns playing the songs they want.


Christian Graham, RSO vice president and senior from Highland Park studying geology, said he worked with Hopkins to form the organization and perform live shows and play some members’ original music. He said the group has taken off as more people became interested.

Graham said the RSO has taught him and other members to create a more diverse sound through the music they play.

“Having to work with these other people (has) helped me experience other styles of music, and I can only learn from there,” Graham said. “I think it helps others too, because they see what I play and benefit from all the differences in the group.”

Graham said college musicians often see bands at bars and other venues and fantasize playing their own shows.

“I think a lot of kids dream about that,” he said. “Our RSO gives them a chance to do that, and they get to play the songs they want.”

Graham said he buys his music equipment from bargain vendors such as Craigslist, but everyone in the club shares it. Kevin Klicki, RSO co-president and senior from Buffalo Grove studying biological sciences, said one benefit of sharing music equipment is that it ensures there is something to play for anyone who wishes to become a part of the RSO.

“We make sure everyone has an instrument in their hand,” he said.

Although the group shares equipment, practice space will soon be an issue. Hopkins said Musicians United meets at the Hillel House, a Jewish campus life building, but the group will soon have to move.

“Unfortunately, they have fallen on hard times and they are going to have to part with the house,” Klicki said.

However, Hopkins said the new facility search has begun.

“We are really pushing for a new home for our musicians here,” he said. “It’s been a real struggle to find a place that will accommodate us.”

Musicians United can be reached by contacting Klicki [email protected] or Hopkins at [email protected].