USC Stage – Hahn Plaza
Saturday, April 12
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC kicks off with a musical performance by the Trojan Marching Band, a musical performance by Catherine Rose Smith, and a joint welcome from the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California.
Catherine Rose Smith is a senior in USC’s popular music program. Beginning piano at an early age, she began to explore composition on keys, an exploration which blossomed into a passion when she learned to play guitar at age 16. In addition to composing original music for and fronting Los Angeles based psychedelic folk band Ghost in the Canyon, Ms. Smith writes daily to continue adding to her diverse catalog ranging from radio-friendly pop to experimental space music.
The USC Saved by Grace Gospel Choir lifts spirits with song. Inspired by a mission to promote spiritual and personal development, their singing evokes the rich emotion of life’s struggles and triumphs.
Brett is a singer/songwriter whose lyric-driven songs in the Americana style have garnered him acclaim by some of his heroes including Randy Newman and Glenn Frey among others. He is the recipient of the Glenn Frey Scholarship at USC’s Thornton School of Music where he will graduate in May with a degree in popular music. His debut EP, Heartbeat Like A Train, was released on January 1, 2014.
Led by Sophie Dimitroff (vox), idesia’s sophisticated and soulful R&B is a sonic massage. With Colton Toy (keys), Brandon Combs (drums) and Daniel Oldham (bass), the band creates a trance-y sound “that you can retreat to when you need to relax” (Hillydilly). The band members met at, and attend, USC’s Thornton School of Music.
At 13, vocalist Malia Civetz sang at the Apollo Theater in New York. She has also performed with Barry Manilow in Las Vegas and has had the honor of singing the national anthem for President Barack Obama. Civetz is a sophomore in the USC Thornton School of Music’s Popular Music Program. She will be accompanied on the USC Stage by Michael Armstrong, Casey Barth, Karina DePiano, Danny Ferenbach, Rowdy Kanarek, Justin Klunk, India Pascucci, Jonathan Sim and Danny Wirick.
House Fire formed in fall 2010 when members Aman Alem, James Brownstein, Nick Cuba and Luke Schunk came together at USC. Hailing from vastly different parts of the country (Wisconsin, Los Angeles, Utah and Philadelphia) and possessing diverse musical tastes, the four musicians together create a distinctly eclectic sound.
5:30 pm: Trojan Bhangra and Asli Baat (South Asian A Cappella and Dance)
Award-winning USC-based a cappella ensemble Asli Baat blends classical and contemporary South Asian music with Western styles including hip hop, jazz, R&B, rock and pop. Trojan Bhangra brings the popular dance of the Punjabi diaspora.
Sunday, April 13
One of the most innovative collegiate marching bands in the country, the USC Trojan Marching Band features more than 300 students from nearly every major at USC. In addition to rousing team spirit on campus, the Trojan Marching Band has entertained audiences with jubilant music, precision drills and crowd-pleasing dance routines at events and venues including the opening of the Metro Expo Line, the L.A. Auto Show, Walt Disney Concert Hall and Trafalgar Square.
The SoCal VoCals are USC’s premier a cappella group. The student-run VoCals have toured the nation and are the only group in the world to have won three International Collegiate A Cappella Championships (2008, 2010, 2012). The VoCals have been featured on The Today Show, in Newsweek magazine and on all four seasons of NBC’s The Sing-Off. They have performed for the LA Kings, the Miami Heat and the USC Trojans, and have shared the stage with stars including Andrea Bocelli, David Foster and Josh Groban.
Join LA Opera artists who began as USC Trojans for a concert featuring favorites from The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro and The Ghosts of Versailles, along with other popular operas. Featured performers include mezzo-soprano Shabnam Kalbasi and bass/baritone Cedric Berry.
Exploding Flowers are an LA-based guitar-pop band influenced by the Paisley Underground, psych pop, power pop and all things “jangle.” Members include singer/songwriter Sharif Dumani, drummer Josh Mancell, guitarist/bassist Mark Sogomian and organist/vibraphonist Happy Tsugawa-Banta.
Aaron Childs and his band create positive energy and unity through music. Striving to make every performance an experience, they incorporate choreography and a constant groove to keep the audience dancing. Aaron and his band invite you into their world, hoping to inspire feelings of happiness, love and passion.
LA-based alternative pop trio Carlton plays pop songs with grooves and arrangements spanning many styles of music, from groovy Motown-inspired drum beats to intricate African 6/8. With a strong DIY ethic, they have self-produced five EPs. Composed of Richard Wynne (vocals, guitar), Brian Jones (bass) and Brendan McCusker (drums), Carlton puts a heavy emphasis on improvisation and experimentation in their live shows.