Popular Music Students and Alumni to Perform at Universal CityWalk


The USC Thornton School of Music popular music program will feature versatile USC Thornton students and alumni August 17 from 6-9 p.m. on the 5 Towers Stage Universal CityWalk.

The free event, part of the Hollywood Hall’s Music Spotlight Series, features artists representing a diverse selection of musical styles and genres, including folk rock, R&B, jazz and pop.

This provides a wonderful platform for these talented artists to perform and gain new fans.

Chris Samson

Interpreters will include:

  • Huxlee, a folk pop outfit led by Caitlin Notey ’14
  • The Aaron Childs Band, a funk band fronted by Aaron Childs ’14
  • Jazz performer Justin Klunk
  • Current students Malia Civetz and Tyler Mann, singers with a contemporary take on classic soul
  • Singer-songwriter Lara Johnston ’13
  • The SoCal VoCals, USC’s award-winning a cappella group

The group will be joined by two USC alumni: DJ Shy, one of the most successful female DJs on the club circuit, who will spin throughout the event; and CBS Los Angeles entertainment reporter Suzanne Marques ’99, who will host the evening.

A “wonderful” platform for Trojans

“We are very grateful to Universal CityWalk for this opportunity,” said Chris Sampson MM ’96, associate dean of contemporary music at USC Thornton. “It provides a wonderful platform for these talented artists to perform and gain new fans.”

Aaron Childs (Photo/Jenay Ross)

Founded in 2009 and hailed by rolling stone As a “cutting edge department that has become the site of Los Angeles’ most productive new music scenes,” the Popular Music program is a unique music degree for rock, pop, R&B, folk, Latin, and country artists.

Each highly selective class is limited to 25 talented songwriters, singers, and instrumentalists who enroll from all parts of the United States. The size of the program allows for collaboration among students, many of whom did not play with other musicians before arriving at USC Thornton.

“The popular music program is amazing,” Childs said. “I’ve seen people go from simple guitarist or simple bassist to producer, singer-songwriter, arranger. This is how I was able to develop and maintain a sound for myself.

Current students and alumni of the program have secured recording and publishing deals, won competitions, released acclaimed EPs and albums, placed songs in films and television, launched successful national tours, and received a Latin Grammy nomination.

Students attribute the success of alumni in the popular music program to the skills taught in the program’s courses.

“I think the program prepared me to do more than play as Huxlee, Notey said. “I now feel comfortable going into a session and writing for another artist. You are given the tools you need to tackle any situation in the music industry.

The USC Thornton Showcase is free and open to the public. The 5 Towers is an outdoor standing room only stage.

For more information, visit Universal CityWalk or the event Facebook page.

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