HLCCTL Hosts 1st Music Production Showcase

Jazzmyn Gamble
The group of audio/music adult learners strike a pose with their digital music instructor, Joe Venuti (third from the left.)

Dozens of friends, family, and staff came to Honickman Learning Center Comcast Technology Labs (HLCCTL) for the Music Production Winter 2024 Showcase for Project HOME Adult Learning and Workforce program participants. Nine students from the program performed 12 songs they cultivated in their classes. Many students wrote their lyrics. They collectively spent hundreds of hours during the center’s free studio period to complete the songs.  

Joe Venuti, the Digital Music Instructor, says listening to each production come to life is the most rewarding experience as an educator. “It feels great. I think what I'm most excited about is how many different genres it covers. People kind of have a preconceived notion of what type of music people will be making, but there's so many genre-bending songs that I really loved.”

Willie Savage, who goes by the stage name Twinkie Bear, has been coming to the HLCCTL since June 2023. “I recorded my very first song that I ever wrote that same month, and so far, I have about six completed songs,” says Twinkie Bear, but he’s had a passion for making music long before then. They performed a song titled “Mascara”, that shares their personal experiences as an LGBTQ youth. “It was the first song that I recorded since I've been here at Project Home,” says Twinkie Bear. “The song is about how society treats people who are different, LGBTQ, or just weird and the opposite of mainstream. We're pushed into corners and marginalized. The metaphor that I use for mascara is, it's a mask that we can put on so we can gloss out and face the world.”  

Kalea Ellis, who goes by Nubiaa Heru, was another adult learner who brought her talents to the Winter Showcase. She shared a poem and then sang a song she wrote and helped produce. Nubiaa Heru enjoys multiple expressions of creativity and says, “I do everything from drawing, painting, sewing. I made my entire outfit. I've been a poet almost my entire life. As far as music goes, this was my first time letting strangers hear my music or performing outside of my house.” She was elated to see the crowd cheering her on and felt the support from her peers. “It was amazing. It felt really refreshing.”

Twinkie Bear (left), Nubiaa Heru (center), and Ted (right) rock the mics during the Audio Winter Workshop.
Twinkie Bear (left), Nubiaa Heru (center), and Ted (right) rock the mics during the Audio Winter Workshop.

The performances were an eclectic mix of songs that captured various messages and storytelling. Ted King’s song called “Getting Started”, was about believing in yourself and taking a leap of faith, regardless of your stage in life. “With our talents, achievements, and abilities, let us just go out there and do as we should. Our talents should produce more and enrich us to better be better people.” Ted is in the music production class and discovered his interest in songwriting and singing. It took him over a month to complete “Getting Started”, but it was all worth it because “It feels good. It's so gratifying.”

The group was proud to embody their shared love for the arts and have a place to transform those visions into reality. “By offering these programs, you are giving people a way to express themselves and a place to discover new things about themselves in a positive way,” says Twinkie Bear. Nubiaa Heru encourages adult learners to take advantage of the resources in the community. “They have podcasting classes. They have beat-making classes, they have the open [audio] lab here. . . You come here and do it for free. There's people here that are willing to help you.”

Congratulations to all the performers for their hard work and creativity. The Winter Showcase will hopefully be the first of many! 

You can learn more about and register for upcoming Project HOME Adult Learning and Workforce classes on the Project HOME events page.

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