PURE offers students outlet to explore rock music

Feb. 9, 2017 noon
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In the Princeton University Rock Ensemble, approximately 30 students explore their interest in rock music, creating new interpretations of popular songs and performing on campus. (Video by Danielle Alio, Office of Communications)

When walking through the basement of Bloomberg Hall, you might hear the sound of drums, electric guitars and strong vocals coming from the practice room. Inside, the practice room is full of instruments, amps, ear plugs and posters of various rock music groups. This is the home of the Princeton University Rock Ensemble (PURE).

PURE is the only student ensemble on campus dedicated to the performance of rock music. The group has approximately 30 undergraduates who perform two concerts each academic year in the Frist Campus Center's Film/Performance Theatre, in addition to smaller showcases on campus.

"I've never been in a rock band before. It's something that I had wanted to do," said junior Katie Frorer, a neuroscience major and a vocalist for PURE. "I've had different levels of vocal training in operatic soprano, musical theater, and pop and rock, but I've never been able to then pursue the pop and rock side as much as I'd like, so this has been really cool."

The rock ensemble's repertoire is mostly cover music from current and past rock bands, from AC/DC to Weezer. The music selections are based on member suggestions and tastes. PURE adds its own creative touch to each track by incorporating new sounds and instruments not found on the original recording.

Senior Aqeel Phillips is a drummer for PURE. "My favorite thing about playing an instrument, especially in a group like this, is just like getting to be on stage with your friends, you know, collaborating with them, being down here rehearsing with them," said Phillips, a computer science major. "I just love all of it."

PURE encourages all students who enjoy the rock genre to audition for the group.

"It's fantastic meeting all these different people because while you have this one common theme, which is the music you like, they bring in ideas from all across different areas of campus that you wouldn't be exposed to otherwise," said junior Joshua Murray, a bassist and geosciences major.