Brandywine musicians encourage club involvement and creativity

Musicians Collaborative club at Penn State Brandywine

Musicians Collaborative hosts open mic events for the campus community and provides music at several campus events. 

Credit: Penn State

MEDIA, Pa. — One of Penn State Brandywine’s newest clubs, Musicians Collaborative, has wasted no time sparking creativity and collaboration on campus. Although it is only three semesters old, the club has quickly integrated itself into campus programming and social life.

For club president Antonio Nicosia, a senior psychology major, participating in Musicians Collaborative has been a natural extension of his own love for music performance.

“I’ve been involved in the Philly music scene for about five years,” said Nicosia. “Music is something I’m passionate about and want to share with the campus.”

Nicosia assumed the role of club president last May. The club had unexpectedly lost one of its leaders, and as a result, several members were expressing doubts in its future. “Basically, I had to pull the club together and convince them that we could make some positive changes,” said Nicosia.

Fortunately, the club rallied in time to collaborate with Brandywine’s civic and community engagement (CIVCM) office, providing music at the office’s Social Justice Fair in spring 2016. “At the fair, the club members performed songs that illustrated how music informs and reflects the struggles and triumphs of all people in the United States,” explained Lynn Hartle, professor of education and coordinator of the CIVCM office.

The event was very successful and reignited widespread interest in Musicians Collaborative. 

“I could go on and on about Musicians Collaborative,” Hartle said. “That club has been the heart and soul of many so many CIVCM events since last spring.” 

Today, Musicians Collaborative has more than doubled in size and boasts 25 active members.

“The members are all very enthusiastic,” added Nicosia. “They’re always trying to better themselves as musicians, which is awesome. I’m really proud of what we’ve done.”

This semester, Musicians Collaborative has already provided music for Brandywine’s career services office and CIVCM office events, including the National Day of Peace. The club plans to host an open mic event for students and to provide music for a Blue and White Society activity before December.

Chu and Nicosia stress that Musicians Collaborative is for students with all levels of musical experience. “You don’t have to be a great musician to join this club,” Nicosia said. “This is really about growing and improving, especially if you’re a beginner or haven’t played in years.”

“We’re not going to judge you,” agreed Chu. “We’re very open and accept anyone.”

The club is home to a variety of musical genres. Active members currently include classical pianists, funk and soul artists, a blues guitarist, violinists and singers.

To foster confidence, teamwork and creativity, club members perform for each other at every meeting. Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Integrative Arts Paul Greene also teaches music theory lessons for the club on a regular basis.

“We have music history classes on campus,” said Nicosia, “but we don’t have anything to teach you how to actually play an instrument or be a songwriter. Paul Greene’s music theory lessons have really helped us fill that void.”

Moving forward, Chu and Nicosia hope to see Brandywine musicians become an even bigger part of campus life.

“It’s so easy for the arts to get marginalized in educational institutions,” observed Nicosia. “I might not see the club through its future since I’m graduating, but I certainly want to leave something for the students who will attend Brandywine after me and need that musical outlet.”