Gifted musicians who polished their skills at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater are donating their talent through an online album to help current students.
The Music Department is showcasing an online album titled "Eclectic Strings" that features 11 vibrant songs in styles ranging from bluegrass and folk to rock and country and western.
Listeners are invited to enjoy the music and support the Music Department. Downloading the album is free; however, donations are encouraged to support music scholarships.
Benjamin Whitcomb, associate professor of music, devised the idea for a website with Eric Sheffield, director of the Arts Media Center and technology coordinator for the College of Arts and Communication.
"A couple of years ago we realized we had enough alumni to create an album, and we thought the alumni would find making this album interesting," Whitcomb said.
Former students responded enthusiastically to the project and contributed performances to the album, available at Bandcamp, an online music store used for promoting artists.
The artists on the album include six UW-Whitewater graduates and one current student, John Kermott of "Forgetting Colors." The alumni artists are Aaron Keim and Scott McCormick of "Boulder Acoustic Society," musician Chris McGarry, Rockwell Price of "Windsor Marie," Harmony Greenhalgh of "Left Foot Green" and Blaine McQuinn.
McQuinn, a 2010 graduate in violin performance, plays the violin, bagpipes and tenor banjo in Milwaukee with his Irish rock group, "Whiskey of the Damned." He believes his education at UW-Whitewater prepared him well for his career.
"The UW-Whitewater string department was one of the greatest programs I could have asked for," said McQuinn. "Without the faith that the department had in me, I wouldn't be doing anything that I am today."
Proceeds from the online album will support the Music Department scholarship fund, which helps 30 to 40 students yearly. Whitcomb also believes the album will be a strong recruiting tool for prospective students.
"We're all committed to attracting the best students possible, by supporting as much as we can, and helping as much as we can," he said.