The University of Colorado might have a hit on its hands.
“Boulder Box Set,” a concert series featuring local musicians, is being considered for an Emmy nomination after its premiere episode aired.
The show is filmed and produced by students, faculty and staff in CU’s Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) program before it’s edited by the Public Broadcast Station and aired as part of the Rocky Mountain Music Series.
ATLAS’ Kathleen Archuleta said the show was submitted for consideration as an Emmy nominee in the category, Arts and Entertainment: Program or Special, as submitted by PBS. Official nominations will be announced in June.
In the summer of 2011, Andy Hill and Renée Safier, folk musicians and friends of Archuleta’s, came to Colorado from California to work with PBS and agreed to have CU’s Black Box Theater be the guinea pigs for the project.
“We didn’t know what we wanted to do yet, but we had the equipment, some students and now some musicians who were willing to cooperate,” Archuleta said. “Somewhere between the taping of Andy and Renee’s performance and the end result, we found our concept.”
The show will feature local up-and-comers performing simple, intimate shows for small crowds in the campus theater. A crew of university staff and students will film each show.
Since the premiere episode aired in July, four more bands — including Princess Music, Paper Bird, The Congress and Ian Cook — have been filmed, but the network is still tooling around with the series’ content before airing another episode, Archuleta said.
Denver rock trio The Congress performed in the Black Box Theater in December with an unusually quiet crowd of about 60 people and a handful of camera handlers filming the set, said drummer Mark Levy.
The vibe of the show was different than the band’s typical performance, he said, the audience was seated throughout the rock show, no alcohol was served and the crowd held applause until the end of each song — rather than shouting when inspired, he said.
“It was more of a recital than a rock show,” he said. “But it wasn’t so much us thinking about getting the perfect take, or not making funny faces in front of the cameras.
“We want to just do what we do best and leave it at that.”
Broadcast engineer Bret Mann said the show is based on similar concepts like “Austin City Limits,” a PBS series that records live performances in Austin, Texas, and hosts the annual music festival of the same name.
“Boulder Box Set” is focused on providing a wide range of music genres to (PBS’s) live and television audiences,” Mann said. “We want to highlight the talented, local musicians and provide that same intimate experience that the live audience is getting to the viewers at home.”
Mann has been dreaming up the idea for nearly a decade in hopes of showcasing the talents of CU students and performers.
Each performance requires about 10 crewmembers for filming — a mix of CU and ATLAS students and staff, Mann said.
While the university crew awaits a decision from PBS about future episodes, they will continue to host live performances.
Archuleta said the crew is hoping to host a few bands in May, once the spring semester is over and there are fewer students vying for the theater space.
Footage of past performances and updates on upcoming shows can be found on boulderboxset.org.
–Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.
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