Students gain arts industry experience in Kaboom Collective
Young creatives ages 15 to 25 are working on Hollywood-style recording projects as members of Northeast Ohio's Kaboom Collective.
Students work with a variety of industry professionals in the arts, from musical composition to script writing to digital animation.
But at the collective's center is its studio orchestra led by Kaboom Collective Co-Founder and Cleveland Arts Prize winner Liza Grossman.
“The collective is a group of professional musicians and artists and teachers from around the country who specialize in a specific craft,” Grossman said. “It’s sort of a think tank about what kinds of productions might be cool for these students to experience, to help them accelerate in this field.”
During a recent rehearsal at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, the musicians were in the final stages of completing an album with Los Angeles musician and producer, Michael Bradford.
Originally from Detroit, Bradford got his professional start when he was 15 with some, “heavy duty jazz cats.”
“One fella said to me, ‘You can't just be good for your age. You've got to be good enough for us.’ And that became sort of my guiding principle for the rest of my life, and that's what I see happening here,” Bradford said. “What I get out of this personally is a chance to see young people doing something really good.”
Kaboom Collective Principal Trumpet, Christopher Hunt of Fairport Harbor aspires to be a studio musician someday.
“I kind of jumped on it because, I mean, where else are you going to find something like this? To really dig deep and learn what it takes to be a real studio musician,” Hunt said.
Drummer Crystal Burks of Cleveland was attracted to another part of Kaboom Collective’s repertoire.
“I've always wanted to tour everywhere. That was like my main thing that I wanted to do,” Burks said. She was impressed to learn Kaboom Collective toured with the indie-folk band the Accidentals. “I was like, ‘Whoa, okay, I like this. This is cool,’”
Grossman and the rest of the collective look to give the students plenty of resume material.
“Now all of these students will have something in their professional portfolio before they hit the professional marketplace looking for work,” Grossman said.
Prior to her current role with Kaboom Collective, Grossman led the Contemporary Youth Orchestra for more than two decades, and she said she loves working with young creatives.
“My students are at the center of it all,” she said. “I just get to hang out with them.”