Voices (April 2, 2014)
Sounds expands the State College music scene.
By Renae Gornick, Voices staff writer.
Cleveland’s path has led her to travel throughout Brazil’s misty Amazon rainforest, to wait on tables, to dig deep in the soils of central Pennsylvanian wetlands, and to perform on-stage with a guitar in her hand and a dream to be a rock star.
Ironically, the combination of her misty, mucky adventures and her eyes half-shut from stage fright have given Cleveland a sense of clarity.
Thus, what was once just a vision for Cleveland shape-shifted to become a tangible reality, and in February 2013 the nonprofit organization Sounds was founded.
Sounds’ mission is to give State College’s current live music scene another dimension by providing a variety of alternative, alcohol-free events for people ages 14 and up within the community.
“I began to see that there wasn’t a place for youth and others to go if they wanted to hear live music or play the music that they had been working on, and just be in a safe and fun environment,” said Cleveland.
“Rock Your Art Out!” is a music and art event that Sounds will host in collaboration with a team of Penn State University students from Recreation, Park and Tourism Management 356. This event will be held on Saturday, April 5 from 6:30 – 10 p.m. in the Fairmount Building Auditorium located on the corner of Fairmount Ave and Frasier St in State College. The entrance to the event will be on the Fairmount Ave side of the building.
“Rock Your Art Out” will offer a night filled with friends, great local musicians and an array of local art for sale. Tickets are $5. This event will have something for everyone and we are excited to show off the diversity of musicians and artists in our community!
Here all Week
Talking To Strangers
ARTISTS-There is unlimited space for art to sell at the event-You get 50% of the profits. Nothing too huge or expensive please.
Her roundabout career path and extensive time spent traveling around the world helped Cleveland develop a deep appreciation for her own community. After graduating from Penn State in 2009 with a master’s in Ecology, she decided that State College was where she wanted to be.
As Cleveland’s ever-changing life stilled, she settled down with her husband and began to seek out ways to help make her community an even better place.
“I had decided that this was my community and this is where I can be of the most service, not in the rainforest in Brazil,” said Cleveland.
And with that decision, the 33-year-old began to develop the vision for Sounds.
Considering her passion for music and being a musician herself, Cleveland found that she could relate with students in the area who were not able to attend and experience certain events because they were underage.
“When I was younger and under 21, I couldn’t go see live music because it happens mostly in the bars,” she said.
“I wasn’t of age to go, even though I would have really liked to see good, live original music.”
Cleveland realized that she could have a positive impact on her community by reaching out to an abundant audience of college-aged students.
“I began to see that there wasn’t a place for youth and others to go if they wanted to hear live music or play the music that they had been working on, and just be in a safe and fun environment,” said Cleveland. “There’s like 35 bars in our town, and I feel like we should be able to have at least one place for people to go without any pressure to drink.”
Although Sounds doesn’t have an exact location yet, the organization has been focusing on building connections with the community, and reaching out to their target audience an audience, and finding out what their target audience through focus groups and surveys to understand what they want.
“That’s a really important one for me to remember, because it’s not about what Misha wants or thinks that everybody needs. It’s about figuring out what the young adults in our community want and then providing that,” said Cleveland.
Until Sounds has its own space, the organization has been hosting music-centered events in already established locations at locations such as Webster’s Bookstore and Café, which was an event that consisted of four different bands, open-mic and audience jam sessions.
“It’s about giving people the opportunity to get comfortable and express themselves musically, and otherwise.”
As far as future hopes and aspirations Cleveland has for Sounds, she plans for the organization to one day have a space that can offer more than just an evening event.
“A pie in the sky is to be able to have a space for bands to come in and record. We also want to be doing certain kinds of apprenticeships. So when an event is going, our sound guy can be teaching a student how to run sound, and our lighting guy can be teaching a student how to do lighting. If we could have that kind of thing, it would be filling a hole that isn’t necessarily being filled right now,” said Cleveland.