Aria Eaton
Alternative country music talent Aria Eaton, one of the Contemporary Music Center students who will appear at Outerland this Friday night.

Hot new music

By Karla Araujo - November 2, 2006

Nestled on 25 acres in the woods of West Tisbury, two music industry moguls are shaping the next rising stars in the contemporary music world. This Friday night, Vineyarders will have the opportunity to hear three talented young musicians perform at Outerland beginning at 9 pm.

While plumbers plumb, carpenters hammer, chefs cook, and accountants count, Warren Pettit and Tom Willett, co-founders of the Contemporary Music Center (CMC) in West Tisbury, are quietly molding 40 college students from across the United States into savvy soon-to-be music professionals, ready to take on the tough entertainment industry. Since 2001, Mr. Pettit and Mr. Willett have welcomed more than 300 of the nation's most talented students from more than 75 colleges to a unique semester-away study program tucked away on a scenic campus here on the Island. This Friday night, Enoch Kim, Justin van Haven, and Aria Eaton will take the stage at Outerland for an evening of widely varying music genres.

Enoch Kim, originally from Guam, now attending college in Illinois, will perform his unique blend of "Ambient Emo," songs laden with atmosphere and emotion. "I've been told the music I play sounds like sorrow and hope put together," he says.

Justin van Haven
Justin van Haven will present his innovative blend of contemporary folk music with technology, titled "Folktronica," on the Outerland stage.

Aria Eaton of St. Louis, Ill., recently featured on the CBS Early Show, will play her own distinctive alternative country music. She appeared at Outerland's Rocktoberfest with Johnny Hoy earlier this fall and was enthusiastically received by the large audience. Returning to the Vineyard, she says: "I've always made music but when I came to the Vineyard and attended the CMC as a college student I realized I HAVE to make music. I'm so glad to be back on-Island so I can write and record my next album with my friends and family."

Justin van Haven from Grand Rapids, Mich., will take to the stage with Summer & Starlight, sharing his version of "Folktronica," a fusion of contemporary folk music and technology. "For me, music and technology have always gone hand-in-hand for some reason," he explains. "The CMC offers up-and-coming musicians the most inspiring instructors in the galaxy which makes for the most inspiring college semester in the universe."

According to Mr. Willett, students spend four months studying songwriting, recording, performance, career management, record company operations and management. Director Pettit studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and at the University of Miami before launching a music technology program at Greenville College in Illinois. Mr. Willett, Creative Director at CMC, performed with Gerry Beckley of America and Danny Brubeck of the Dave Brubeck Trio. He also served as head of Artists and Repertoire for What?/A&M Records in Los Angeles (an indie label he launched) and for Word/Epic Records in New York.

Cory Parker Cabral, Outerland's manager of operations and booking, characterizes this Friday night's CMC All-Stars event as an example of how the club hopes to keep the Island entertained off-season. "We're striving to bring in new talent and to make Outerland's smaller Dock setting a vital part of the Vineyard even in the quieter months."

Outerland, Airport Road, Edgartown, doors will open at 8 pm Friday, Nov. 3. The show will begin at 9 pm. Tickets are $5 each and you must be at least 18 years of age to be admitted with a valid I.D.