How hard is it to get five college students together in the same room at the same time for band practice? Extremely, according to the members of Potential Novelty.Tonight, buried deep within the Orchestra room inside the Goshen College Music Center, all five members have managed to get together and rehearse.
Potential Novelty is a band started at GC by juniors Meredith Blossom and Jocsan Barahona Rosales, sophomores Dontaye Albert and Fatima Rhana and freshman Matthew Dyck.
“If we say a time, we actually mean 20 minutes later,” Rhana says.
“Unless it’s a performance that’s upcoming,” Albert adds, sitting down behind a set of drums — “Then, we’re on time.”
In minutes, the five of them settle into their instruments: Blossom on bass, Barahona Rosales on the keys, Albert on drums, Rhana on vocals and Dyck on the guitar.
They’ve been performing as a group since the fall and have several live shows under their belts already, including Kickoff and Battle of the Bands, the latter of which they won by fan vote.
The group has yet to determine when their next live gig will be and they seem content with that.
However, their laid-back attitude has not prevented them from achieving their goals for performances or as a band in general and was actually a part of how the band began.
Instead of Potential Novelty starting with an array of auditions, the band’s spark was with a question Rhana asked Blossom: “wouldn’t it be sick if we were a band or something?”
From there, it became Blossom and Rhana spending a night coming up with names. They initially settled on “For the Time Being,” which is still one they enjoy despite it later being changed and other members flocked to the idea. What started as a pipe dream quickly became reality.
“I think I might have just come to a jam session that [Albert] invited me to,” Barahona Rosales said.
Dyck joined the crew shortly before Kickoff and despite being given just a few days to rehearse, the band solidified with Dyck’s addition.
Months later, they find themselves at this rehearsal, which starts out like most: random riffs and notes fill the air as each of them warm up.
However, practice shifts from music making to picking out the three songs to perform on 91.1 The Globe (WGCS) and getting the details nailed down.
“I think ‘Dream About You’ would be fun,” Rhana says.
They all generally agree but don’t confirm anything.
Dyck tosses out another song idea — “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters.
“Play it!” Rhana encouraged him and quickly began playing the opening.
Someone asks if Albert’s up to playing the drums like Dave Grohl.
“No!” he shouts.
They give “Everlong” a try but it falls apart and Albert quickly says, “gimme like three days,”
As their banter continues, Dyck says, “Let’s write a song.”
Moments later, Albert and Dyck launch into improv.
Barahona Rosales joins by singing in falsetto without a microphone and Rhana sits at the keys.
Blossom focuses the guitar and begins piecing together a bassline.
They begin toying around with a different riff and suddenly there’s a spark for a song.
“If we added some actual structure to this song, I think it could work!” Rhana exclaims, shortly after revealing that she came up with a chord progression for the keys part on the spot.
Their jam is interrupted when a worker walks in and reminds them that a show is happening in the concert hall next door at the same time. They play on.
“If we can just get a verse, bridge, chorus structure, I think we’re good,” Rhana says.
Less than a week later, Rhana confirmed that the spark caught fire — now a song that they call “Strawberry.”