The sun finally peaked Sunday afternoon following a week of rain, humidity and darkness during Tuesday’s brief blackout.
Students ventured out of their dorms into Nyumburu Amphitheater where a range of artists from student groups to America’s Got Talent runner-up Cas Haley performed sets for an audience of about 50.
For the sixth year in a row, Student Entertainment Events, or SEE, hosted Terpstock – a daylong festival showcasing different musical talents.
“Terpstock fills a hole that existed,” said Andi Hubbell, the public relations director for SEE. “We have a huge end of the year show that’s a huge blowout, so we wanted to have something that’s more relaxed.”
Three of the student bands – HYERLearnin, Bare Left and Talk Radio – also performed at SEE’s Battle of the Bands earlier this semester.
“Battle of the Bands ends up being a pretty cool pool of talent for SEE to look at for other events,” Hubbell said. “It’s just a good way for SEE to get to know local student talent because we like to work with students and draw from available student talent.”
Lounging around the amphitheater, audience members bobbed their heads to the beat as Chris McClenney spun his music. The sleeves of his black shirt rolled up to his elbows, McClenney bent over his control board and bounced back and forth as he engaged with the music.
McClenney, a senior jazz performance major at this university, is a part of the Soulection record label on SoundCloud and has more than 20,000 followers. He’s performed shows in Los Angeles, New York City and at U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C. But McClenney said he was nervous to perform in front of his peers.
“The style of music that I usually spin is a little bit more underground,” McClenney said. “I’m curious to see how people will react.”
McClenney said he struggles with deciding whether to tailor his performance toward what the audience wants to hear or maintain the integrity of his sound.
“I’m going to try to do a balance of what I usually perform and more of what the audience on campus might be interested in,” McClenney said.
Most DJs, McClenney said, prepare beforehand, but he goes on stage with an idea in his head of where to start, and then lets the idea take over.
Soulection is a Los Angeles-based production label with artists from all walks of life and produces a broad range of sound. Soulection holds a prominent presence in the SoundCloud scene and the L.A. area, McClenny said.
However, the label’s music may not translate to campus, he said.
“My goal is to help introduce people on campus to this sound,” McClenny said. “I want to bring this sound to the east coast because it’s there, but it’s much stronger on the west coast.”
While McClenney has had the opportunity to perform in various places all over the country, he said it’s cool to present his craft on campus, where a lot of his music began.
“I’ve had the chance to travel to different places, so I always try to learn something,” McClenney said. “This is going to be unique because it’s right here at home on campus where I live.”
With a somersault, Dale “Snail” Rodman entered the room. He pulled over a lectern and stood behind it, slammed his hand down and announced he was ready to begin.
This energy and persona followed him from the green room to the stage.
Barefoot and shaking his dreads, Rodman jumped around, guitar in hand, only pausing for a moment to sing.
While none of the five current members of Dale and the Z Dubs attended this university, they have very deep connections to Maryland, Rodman said.
Rodman’s grandfather, Leonard Rodman, boxed for this university. Rodman said his grandfather’s picture is displayed in the XFINITY Center.
Rodman’s father hosts an annual golf competition – the Rodman Memorial Golf Tournament – that raises money for student athlete scholarships.
“I’m used to hanging out on campus and I have memories of going to basketball games at Cole Field House,” Rodman said.
Aside from philanthropy, Dale and the Z Dubs are familiar with the area from playing several College Park venues such as Cornerstone and The View.
“I don’t want to compartmentalize our listeners, but high school and college aged people tend to really like our music,” Rodman said. “We’re definitely here a good amount. We have done multiple musical endeavors here at UMD.”
Though the lineup changed various times since the band’s inception four years ago, members agree the current comradery is the best the band has ever had. The group plans to go into the studio this fall to record its next album.
“We’re excited because we think all of the new songs are better than the old songs because our musicianship is the best it’s ever been,” said Mike Candela, who plays electric guitar.
“Our new sound punches a little more,” Rodman said. “It’s a little heavier.”
Dale and the Z Dubs currently have two full-length albums that are available for free download.
“We’re lucky that Maryland is having us,” Rodman said. “There are hundreds of bands that would’ve played today and we’re lucky to have the spot. Cas Haley is one of the most incredible vocalists ever. We’re really lucky to be here and really lucky that SEE chose us.”
The audience at Nyumburu Amphitheater reached its peak in time for the final performance.
As the sun began to set, audience members spread out across the amphitheater. Teal Terpstock T-shirts lay on the grass beside students, who swayed back and forth to the acoustic guitar – the mellow atmosphere contrasting the previous high-energy performances. Terpstock ran for roughly five hours.
Cas Haley, the runner-up from the second season of America’s Got Talent, performed the final set of SEE’s sixth annual Terpstock.
“I didn’t know how cool of an event this was,” Haley said. “I do universities throughout the year, but this [show] seems like it’s going to be a cool one.”
Growing up in northeast Texas, Haley said he had two available venues to play in: the churches and the bars. He chose the latter. By 25, Haley said he was tired of playing the bar scene.
“College audiences are very different and I do like it a lot,” Haley said. “I find it refreshing to to find an audience where they’re at the point in their life where they’re discovering who they are.”
He said it means something different than a bar gig.
“A lot of times it’s earlier shows,” Haley joked, “and I’m getting older so I dig being done by 10 o’clock.”
Both of Haley’s parents are musicians, so Haley grew up living in the music scene and was constantly surrounded by musicians.
“My father is probably the biggest influencer of all the musicians that came through my house,” Haley said. “He taught me everything. It’s crazy how much you can learn just from being immersed in it.”
Despite growing up in a performance-oriented environment, Haley said he isn’t a “show guy.”
“It’s always nice when there’s a big concert and lots of people,” Haley said. “But I truly do like the intimate one-on-one shows where I can just be me and tell stories and hang out and play songs.”
Haley said if there’s one thing he wants students to take away from his performance, it’s that their goals and dreams are possible.
“You can follow your dreams,” Haley said. “You can express yourself. It can work. It’s a blessing to know what you want to do, but it’s also possible to actually do it.”
Maya Pottiger is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.