Courtesy of Rachael Sanguinetti / A&E Editor

The halls are alive with the sound of…rock?  On Friday, Nov. 1, some unconventional music blasted out of the Ray Wright Room at the Eastman School of Music, luring students away from their usual Friday night spots.  The source?  Three popular student bands: Sara Marie and the Eastmen, Fish God, and Grey Light – all of whom displayed their prowess by performing a number of songs, most of which were original compositions.

The audience on Friday got to experience a rare concert full of head banging, moshing, wild cheering, and stunning talent.

All of the students in these three groups are working towards degrees at Eastman; however, as Sara Marie Sommerer (lead vocalist for Sara Marie and the Eastmen) put it, “We live, speak, and breathe classical music here, so it’s refreshing to have an outlet that is completely different.”  This sentiment was clearly shared by their enthusiastic audience, which was comprised mostly of Eastman students, looking for a small respite from the daily rigors of school, as well as family and community members.  According to Ben Fang (guitarist for Grey Light and Sara Marie and the Eastmn), the crowd at a rock concert “plays a big role in the energy of the performance and the quality of the experience for everyone,” and it is this “two-way dialogue” that makes rock performances fulfilling in a way that classical concerts are not.  Friday night’s audience exceeded the expectations of the performers, a group of enthusiastic spectators full of excitement – some of the students even moshed for the first time in their lives according to Arjun Baxter (lead vocalist and bassist for Fish God

Clearly, the performers were successful in energizing the audience, and the audience undoubtedly helped contribute to the energy of performers.

The bands were all also motivated by the opportunity to perform original music. Questioned individually, each group had a different source of inspiration for their music. When asked about the story behind Fish God’s music, Baxter stated that they are inspired by their favorite modern artists and composers, “much like Mahler, who was very much inspired by Beethoven,” he said.  For Grey Light, however, Fang says that “the music is guided by the lyrics that [he writes], which are influenced by [his] own life.”

All three band’s members share a love for classical music, in addition to other diverse genres of music. It is this love for a variety of music that fuels a passion in each member of these three groups to create something unique that they can share with a larger audience

The opportunity to share their passion for music is one of the best parts of being in a band for many of the musicians.  For Andrew Links (guitarist and vocalist for Fish God), “there’s nothing like [sharing] your true feelings [with] an audience and having them love it.”

These performers are well on their way to achieving their goals.  The concert was met with great enthusiasm and was ultimately a resounding success.  It is easy to see that all three of these bands can reach incredible heights with the aid of the continued dedication, passion, and amazing talent that each musician brings.  For more information about the bands, visit,, or, or look for them on Facebook.

Andrew is a member of the class of 2017.

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