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NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest hits Eau Claire

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Lucas Semb

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25 local musical artists have the opportunity to earn a spot on Bob Boilen’s radio show “All Songs Considered”

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NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest hits Eau Claire

This year though, one unknown artist or group will have the opportunity to earn themselves some national attention by getting their very own Tiny Desk Concert on Boilen’s show. 
And, there’s a chance that this group could come from the Eau Claire area, Scott Morfitt, Converge Radio’s station manager, said.

This year though, one unknown artist or group will have the opportunity to earn themselves some national attention by getting their very own Tiny Desk Concert on Boilen’s show. And, there’s a chance that this group could come from the Eau Claire area, Scott Morfitt, Converge Radio’s station manager, said.

Photo by Gabbie Henn

This year though, one unknown artist or group will have the opportunity to earn themselves some national attention by getting their very own Tiny Desk Concert on Boilen’s show. And, there’s a chance that this group could come from the Eau Claire area, Scott Morfitt, Converge Radio’s station manager, said.

Photo by Gabbie Henn

Photo by Gabbie Henn

This year though, one unknown artist or group will have the opportunity to earn themselves some national attention by getting their very own Tiny Desk Concert on Boilen’s show. And, there’s a chance that this group could come from the Eau Claire area, Scott Morfitt, Converge Radio’s station manager, said.

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National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concerts have become increasingly popular, thanks to the internet.

Created by NPR’s Bob Boilen, who hosts the radio show “All Songs Considered,” these concerts are live, recorded, in-office performances put on during his show. These acts have featured the likes of artists such as Mac Miller, T-Pain and Adele.

This year though, one unknown artist or group will have the opportunity to earn themselves some national attention by getting their very own Tiny Desk Concert on Boilen’s show.

And, there’s a chance that this group could come from the Eau Claire area, Scott Morfitt, Converge Radio’s station manager, said.

“There are 25 teams from the area in the running for this contest,” Morfitt said. “There are some from Minnesota, but they are primarily from this area. There are even some university students who made submissions.”

NPR is hosting a nationwide competition this year, listening to local bands from across the country to determine who is worthy of a Tiny Desk Concert.

They will be judged based off a few factors like quality of music, technical proficiency, originality and general sound.

These groups cover a wide range of genres, from folk to hip-hop to Latin R&B. Each entrant submitted a music video of them performing their original music. The winner will travel to Washington, D.C. for their live performance and even go on tour with NPR this summer. The judging period ends on May 10, when a winner will be determined.

Eau Claire’s very own 99.9 FM Converge Radio had the opportunity to work as the production crew for all 25 local bands.

When NPR came calling looking for organizations to work with their local artists, Morfit says he found it easy to say yes. With his team at Converge Radio, they quickly designed an artistic set at The Venue in downtown Eau Claire, where all bands had their performances recorded. Converge Radio’s 20-person team worked on the cinematography, audio and video editing for all 25 submissions. Morfit said the process went “amazingly smoothly.”

“This was just a testament to the great bands and volunteers who were hard-working and professional,” Morfit said. “This was just indicative of the Eau Claire music community’s willingness to collaborate with one another.”

Another victory for the Eau Claire music community throughout this process, besides the collaboration between one another, was the skills they were able to practice.

Many of the team members for Converge Radio are UW-Eau Claire students who are aspiring music industry professionals. This process allowed them the opportunity to work on many of the necessary skills needed to thrive in music.

The students on his team worked on multi-track recording, liasoning artists and editing skills across the board, Morfitt said. These skills will ensure that the Eau Claire area will continue to boast a strong music presence in the future.

One Converge Radio team member, Brad Murphy, said this was a valuable experience.

Murphy hosts his own shows on 99.9 FM, one called “The Carp” which plays metal music, and another called “Boots and Blue Jeans” that plays country music and americana. He said that learning how to work with sounds and capture the best sound will help him as a producer.

But aside from the professional aspects, everyone involved had a lot of fun. For a community that has such a rich music culture, this NPR contest was very fitting.

“We got to basically have our own personal concerts,” Murphy said. “You don’t get too many opportunities to do that.”

Caitlin McGarvey, a Tiny Desk Contest submittant, said the entire experience was pleasant.

They said the Converge Radio team put together a solid final video product and their set had a nice ambiance and vibe.

They also said that although this is a competition, the Eau Claire music community has been very supportive of one another.

“I’ve been a part of this music community for four years now and we all know each other,” McGarvey said. “If anyone from Eau Claire wins this, we will all feel like a part of the victory.”

Semb can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Lucas Semb, Staff Writer

Lucas Semb is a third-year sports journalist from Milwaukee, WI. He specializes in basketball coverage but does cover all sports. Fan of dogs, Twitter and video games.

Gabbie Henn, Staff Photographer

Gabbie Henn is a photography student and is a staff photographer on The Spectator. She enjoys thrifting, cooking yummy food, and loves going to concerts.

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NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest hits Eau Claire