Using music as a common denominator, Harmonix Music Club is unique in its objective to unify the demographically diverse UTM student body. The club, formed in 2017, is spearheaded by third-year students Bowen Hou and Alvin Li. As co-presidents, Hou and Li have established an ambitious business plan garnering the support of four sponsors—J.J. Health Clinic, Rehearsal Factory, Renovation Trust, and Long & McQuade—to fund the club’s activities.
In terms of its inception, Li, who is a CCIT and and criminology student, explained that the he had announced HMC’s arrival at UTM’s Mandarin International-student Christian Fellowship Club in the hopes to recruit potential members. At MICF, Hou, a psychology and management student, became acquainted with Li’s idea.
Hou said, “I saw Alvin’s idea about the music, and I said, ‘You know what, we should take action.’ First, we found a graphic designer. Then, [we recruited] some of his friends and some of my friends and we began designing a logo for it.”
In the early days of the club’s formation, Hou and Li stated that the club’s chief goal is to promote inclusivity.
“Wherever you are from, and whoever you are, you may join if you have an interest in music,” Hou elaborated.
“We have two focuses: We want to provide a place to have fun for students interested in music. But, on the other hand, we want to be professional, as well,” Li added.
To achieve these goals, the club offers weekly tutorial lessons wherein students are provided with lessons taught by musical professionals who have at least five years of experience in their field. These professionals teach the basics of their field. To find these tutorial leaders, Li said that he first makes an attempt to search for them among the club’s member list. If this search proves unfruitful, the club hires professionals independently from UTM. The lessons typically last for an hour and a half. So far, HMC has had piano, guitar, and drum lessons.
At these weekly tutorial lessons, instruments are provided for the members by the club’s sponsors. Impressively, each sponsorship, except Long & McQuade, furnished HMC with two thousand dollars to start the club’s activities. Li talked to Long & McQuade, who expressed a great interest in HMC, and obtained a half-price deal for instrument rental. Sponsors Renovation Trust and J.J. Health clinic are cash sponsors. Rehearsal Factory provides studio rentals. Hou is also the club’s profit associate—which means that he actively looks for the club’s sponsorships.
Furthermore, HMC aids its members in the production of their music by providing an online platform, such as the club’s social media pages, to share their music. DJs and sound mixers are available for production purposes. This semester, HMC aims to release a compilation of their members’ music—with Hou primarily leading the project.
Notably, HMC hosted a four-hour concert on campus for students to showcase original compositions and song covers. The co-presidents stated that a professional music concert conducted on campus is typically a rarity among the music clubs at UTM. So, HMC’s winter concert is a recognizable feat.
To prepare for the concert, Li explained the mechanics behind the rehearsals. “First, we had members practice every Friday. I told the members that we would be having a concert around Christmas time, so that they’d have a goal. [So] that they don’t just [attend the meetings] to have fun. […] Because if you have a goal, then you’d have a passion to participate more.”
During the practice sessions, Hou mentioned a minor difficulty in encouraging the club’s more introverted members to mingle and “create connections.” To remedy this, Hou and Li placed these members into groups to encourage social interaction.
According to Hou and Li, 50 attendees were present at the concert. Some feedback that the co-presidents received, and are taking into account, is to have professional filming systems. Li said that this included better photography, stage set up, and lighting.
At the moment, the club has around seventy participants, and is looking to expand their executive team. Specifically, the co-presidents are searching for at least ten participants to fill positions in their executive and production teams. Hou emphasized that an ideal executive member holds the characteristics of speed and potential.
More long-term goals for HMC include publishing music online, holding a year-end concert, and increasing sponsorship.