Cayuga Community College’s student-run music company, Cayuga Records, highlighted the release of three new CDs by local artists with an event held last week at Auburn Public Theatre. The new albums showcase the diverse talents of regional artists Joann Perry, a singer-songwriter; Lee Terrace, an alternative rock band; and Gruppo Folkloristico, an Italian folk chorus. An overflow crowd attended the celebration, which was hosted by the college’s School of Media and the Arts and the Telcom Department, and featured live performances by two of the new artists, as well as by rap artist D-Lyte and the Cayuga Student Jazz Ensemble.
Cayuga Records, a record production and music publishing company and record label, began as a hands-on learning program at Cayuga Community College to provide media students with opportunities to gain firsthand experience in the music business. The company has produced ten albums to date, with three more currently in the works. Cayuga’s Telcom Department also has a student-run video and film production company, C3Video, further distinguishing Cayuga as the only community college in New York State that offers students an opportunity to create, develop, and launch their own businesses in electronic media.
“We see our mission as being twofold,” says Steve Keeler, chair of the Division of Humanities and Communication and director of broadcasting, electronic media, and the College’s radio station, WDWN. “We want to teach media students entrepreneurial skills and give them the opportunity to learn all the things associated with running a record company, everything from auditions, working with artists, helping artists select material, to recording, contracts, artwork, and distribution.”
The second aspect of the company’s mission, according to Keeler, is to give back to the community by supporting talented regional recording artists in recording original work from a variety of genres. In light of this goal, there is no cost to the artists themselves for the services provided by Cayuga Records, nor any contractual obligations. “Studio time is free, we provide the artwork, and artists are free to use the master recording however they like,” Keeler says. “We just want to give them a leg up into the business.”
Working with regional artists provides students with potential benefits that extend beyond gaining valuable experience in the music business. They also become part of a growing community of local artists, which may inspire them to stay in the area following graduation and continue their work as recording artists as a part of that community.
For more information about Cayuga Records or to view clips of the live performances at the recent release event, visit http://www.cayugarecords.com/. All ten of the record label’s CDs are available through amazon.com and can be found there by searching for “Cayuga Records” within the music category.