Archived Story

Music program reaches out

Published 7:01am Sunday, October 20, 2013
Joshua Whalen will be performing "Joshua Whalen on Main," at the main entrance to Riverland's east building on Tuesday.
Joshua Whalen will be performing “Joshua Whalen on Main,” at the main entrance to Riverland’s east building on Tuesday.

The Riverland Community College music program is trying to help music artists make it in the music program with their aptly-named Making It series — a grouping of workshops and performances engineered to help bring music to the community.

The department is offering four events this year after coming off six the year before. Two of those events, a panel discussion on booking and touring for cheap and a conversation with Charlie Parr, in partnership with the Caravan du Nord and the Austin Area Commission for the Arts, have taken place.

Two more Making It opportunities take place later this month.

“(These workshops) are geared toward students who are interested in doing things in the music industry,” said music director Scott Blankenbaker.

At events like Digital Songwriting Basics, groups are generally small but the opportunity is big. Things like this offer a more one-on-one experience.

“Especially the song-writing one,” Blankenbaker said. “A small turnout, people get to ask a whole lot of questions and do a lot of hands-on rather than just listening.”

For people like emerging singer/songwriter Joshua Whalen, the experience is invaluable, not just because of the learning to write experience, but the opportunity to connect.

“I think it’s a great thing,” Whalen said. “It gives musicians a lot of time to connect with other musicians. It’s a great outreach. It’s something Austin really needs because we do have extra talent.”

The workshop takes place at 2 p.m. Oct. 25, in Austin East Room N110. The public is welcome and those attending will be checking out some entry-level and som pro-level software used to record and edit. These sessions are free.

Just three days before from 12:15 to 1 p.m., Whalen will be the centerpiece of the Joshua Whalen on Main, a Casual Classics Concert performed in the main entrance to Riverland’s east building.

During the 45-minute performance Whalen will play and be open to questions.

“I’ll be answering questions and talking bait about myself as a songwriter,” Whalen said. “I’m open to people asking questions.”

Whalen, who has performed several times through the area and will be playing a folk festival in Chicago in November, said he is looking forward to the opportunity.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a neat little showcase of what I’ve become and what (RCC) music students are out and doing. It’s a cool opportunity.”

Check it out

For more information head to

To see what the RCC music department as a whole is doing head to Included in this is information for an upcoming collaboration with the Southeast Minnesota Chamber Orchestra based in Albert Lea.

“It’s mostly musicians from all over including Austin, Albert Lea, Iowa, Owatonna,” Riverland music instructor Scott Blankenbaker said. “It will be a traditional holiday concert featuring the our two choirs along with the orchestra.”


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