In the third of four sets in the WCU marching band field show “Rock U,” an electronic- sounding voice can be heard over the group announcing that they just “can’t stop the rock.” Behind the voice is Dustin Painter, an electronics coordinator who not only sings through the vocoder during the show but also manages mixer levels and other details of the range of electronic instruments from guitars to synthesizers.
Painter, a senior commercial and electronic music major with a minor in jazz guitar at WCU, traces his love for music to his parents and the music they listened to while he was growing up.
“There was always something different playing in my house or in the cars I rode,” said Painter, who is from Wendell and graduated from Clayton High School. “My mom listened to a lot of soul and disco as well as the pop songs of the ‘90s, which were on when she use to take me to school. My dad listened to a lot of classic rock, music from the ‘50s and, of course, the Beatles. I’m sure this big mixing pot of songs to listen to influenced me to eventually play and study music.”
(Painter joked it probably also helped that “I wasn’t the most athletic of children.”)
He selected WCU after coming to campus for an Honor Band event during his junior year of high school and hearing great things about the university’s School of Music from Shane Benson, who was his assistant band director at the time and a WCU alumnus.
“I knew after touring campus that I wanted to be here, especially after touring the studio with Dr. Bruce Frazier,” said Painter.
He was excited about the band’s trip to California for the Tournament of Roses not only for the experience and what it means for the band but also to see what the area has to offer, as someday he’d like to be a film score composer.
“It’s certainly an honor to be invited to the Tournament of Roses and it shows the hard work and dedication Bob Buckner, as well as all of the staff we’ve had in the past, has given to the program,” said Painter. “Certainly, I’m looking forward to going with the band and performing in the parade, without a doubt, but my excitement for going to California is very personal in the sense of what the future has to hold. Hopefully when we’re in California, I’ll be near my future home.”
The band performs its field show “Rock U” today in the Tournament of Roses Bandfest at 11:45 a.m. PST. The show can be seen online by purchasing an $8.50 webcast. A portion of proceeds benefit the band.
Check out features about musicians playing other instruments that set the band apart, including a bagpipe player, electric guitarist and vocalist.