The Pond, the subject of a new club founded by music student Lovage Sharrock, aims to showcase the Mills music department by broadcasting contemporary work by current students and by pulling from the Center for Contemporary Music’s extensive archives.
Like other non-commercial college radio stations, The Pond intends to present a radio format that is often drowned out by larger transmission juggernauts like Clear Channel and Viacom. However, in a departure from the standard college radio indie rock fare, The Pond slants towards the idiosyncratic.
The station would broadcast as “a streaming loop of an ever-expanding and changing rotation of work directly associated with Mills College,” said Sharrock. “There will be no scheduled shows or time slots, just a continuously morphing playlist.”
The Pond will act as an online vehicle for the music department, which is internationally lauded for pioneering music trends in the world of avant-garde, electronic, and improvisational music, much to the satisfaction of music professor and author David Bernstein.
“Musicians at Mills have made crucial contributions to the development of experimental music since the 1930s and ’40s,” he said.
Bernstein praised The Pond project as an extension of that legacy.
“This is a special opportunity, and I am very pleased that once again Mills students remain on the cutting edge.”
Music Professor Chris Brown agreed and thinks the station will help raise the profile of Mills-generated music. “Unfortunately, it can be difficult to share works created here with the larger Mills community, and internet radio will obviously be a powerful way to solve this problem,” Brown said.
The Pond has also garnered the support of part-time professor and Center for Creative Music director Pauline Oliveros, who feels that “programming opportunities for radio abound at Mills.”
Oliveros is excited at the prospect of opening the department’s vault of recorded music for public consumption.
“There is a very large archive of recorded concerts, as well as the ongoing concert activity, that would feed The Pond endlessly and richly with great variety,” she said.
“It would be great to have an outlet to the world for such an active music community.”
For Oliveros, The Pond is a most appropriate name, as it reflects a common source of inspiration for those who have utilized the recording studio that overlooks it; Oliveros herself was inspired for her critically acclaimed 1966 composition Alien Bog.
Similarly, the liner notes for The Jon Raskin Quartet’s The Bass and the Bird Pond states, “The idea came about after listening to the frogs singing by the pond near the music building at Mills College. I was thinking of the levels of perspective when using a pond as focal point of understanding the life cycle of large and small.”
The nascent club will meet bi-monthly and currently comprises students Danishta Rivero, Caitlin Palmer and Sharrock.
The three have “been working on proposals, reviewing digital copyright laws, building contractual agreements, and designing and organizing the structure of The Pond,” Sharrock said.
The club is open to the entire Mills community and is “designed to assist in the recording of events, editing, fundraising activities, and general promotion of The Pond.” After one semester as an active member, students are eligible to receive course credit, pending teacher approval.
For more information about The Pond contact members at MillsRadioActivity@gmail.com.