Creating a space for musical voices on Muhlenberg’s campus

Highlighting the work of A-Town Records, the new student music club on-campus

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ATR members joining in on the fun during a jam session // Photo courtesy of @atrberg on Instagram

The Muhlenberg College campus is home to over 120 clubs but of the performance groups and ensembles, most focus on theatre and comedy. The Muhlenberg Theatre Association, Muhlenberg Comedy Association, A Capella Council and WMUH are great resources, but none of them allow for music production. Rachelle Montilus ‘24 decided to fill this void with a new club, A-Town Records (ATR).

A long-time singer and songwriter, Montilus dedicated herself to the creation of an environment at Muhlenberg where student musicians could feel a resolute sense of agency to wear many hats, and to see their original work showcased in many formats and mediums. Montilus serves as the Label Director for ATR. 

“There’s no real hub for singers and songwriters and musicians to just create,” explains Montilus. “There’s the MTA, there’s the MCA… There was just really no organization on campus with [a] music orientation, which was strange to me.”

“There was just really no organization on campus with [a] music orientation, which was strange to me.”

– Rachelle Montilus ‘24

“In early February, I was in ‘Miss You Like Hell’ with the department…at the beginning of the semester, I had just come off of my own songwriting high. And I was like, I really want to be able to do this at school,” stated Montilus. 

Another cast member of “Miss You Like Hell,” Luke McIntyre ‘25, ATR’s business manager, shared, “I met Rachelle and Lorenzo doing ‘Miss You Like Hell’ and we talked about how there were organizations for so many arts programs except for music. So, the three of us kind of reached out to people we thought would be interested in getting it up and running. I then put the three of us in contact with Dr. Kaiser in the music department who I took ‘music and technology’ with to be our advisor.”

The club has only grown from there and is open to any students on campus who are interested in music. 

“We want to give student musicians a place to put their work. So hopefully working on more recording this semester and getting things on streaming platforms, we did two of those last semester… But I guess our goal for this semester is to keep that going, expanding as much as we can. We’ve been taking on volunteers with events. We have two new board members, which has been helping a lot, but it’s definitely all hands on deck to make things happen. And I think in that collaboration, we want that to reflect on our work that we do with the club so collaboration, music, all that good stuff,” continued Montilus.

The club is also doing a refreshing production of the musical, “Spring Awakening.” The production will take place in the Event Space and ATR hopes to make the show more accessible and relatable for students. 

“[Spring Awakening] is a lot of hard material that I just thought it wouldn’t be a good idea for us, as such a young organization, to put out a show of this volatility. But then after [an] interview with Alegra [Secor ‘23], myself and Paige [Majewski ‘24], our production manager had a lot of really good thoughts,” says Montilus. “We wanted to do the show because we trusted the director, and to this day, Alegra has been so awesome in making sure that actors have resources and diverse, safe spaces and that we have an intimacy coordinator at all times.”

“Our goal right now is to continue expanding opportunities to get live music out there on campus,” says Lorenzo Antigua ‘24, ATR’s director of music. “We’re looking at Muhlapalooza at the end of the semester to make that happen in a really freeform way.” The club is also hoping to crowdsource funding for this festival.

“There are so many talented musicians all across campus so giving them opportunities to create and perform is just awesome.”

– Luke McIntyre ‘25

ATR has their first general meeting/karaoke night tonight, Sept. 15, from 8 to 10 p.m. in the Red Door and people can learn about all the events happening with ATR from their newsletter and following @atrberg on Instagram.

“This has definitely become one of the things I’m most proud to be apart of. There are so many talented musicians all across campus so giving them opportunities to create and perform is just awesome,” stated McIntyre.

Montilus concluded, “I don’t think we have any interest in making it an exclusive membership type thing. We are keeping it open because anybody can consider themselves a musician for any time. [We are] making a community that is open for anybody who feels like they want to join… in on the fun.”

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Danny Milkis '23 is a Media & Communication student at Muhlenberg who has a specific interest in writing and journalism. In high school, he took part in extracurricular writing whenever possible, and received a Metropolitan Award nomination for his work as a Student Performing Arts Critic. He is ecstatic to have joined the staff of talented writers and editors at the Muhlenberg Weekly, and is excited to learn from this wonderful group of knowledgeable individuals throughout his time at Muhlenberg.

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Johnny '24 is a Theatre and Media and Communication double major at 'Berg. He loves to highlight the voices of artists across campus and to showcase the wide variety of events at Muhlenberg. He likes to think he is funny, but that is up for debate.

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