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SFCM Students Can Hear Themselves on Vinyl with Residents Winter Term Release

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Sarah Cahill, part of SFCM's piano faculty, was also part of the years-in-the-making concert, alongside members of SFCM's Technology and Applied Composition and piano departments.

February 16, 2024 by Alex Heigl

The concert that beloved SF avant-garde rockers The Residents put on as part of a 2023 Winter Term project with Music Director Edwin Outwater is receiving a physical release on vinyl and CD/DVD label release. The CD/DVD package includes a film made of the evening by John Sanborn, who also coordinated visuals for the evening, and the album is also released digitally on all platforms.


The project, which Outwater called "something that I've been working towards basically since I got back to San Francisco and came to the Conservatory," included not just faculty pianist Sarah Cahill but a number of other luminaries in the music world, such as bassist/singer Les Claypool—best known for his work with Primus—LA rock drummer Josh Freese, and experimental composer Pamela Z, alongside SFCM students and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. 

Pamela Z with members of the SFCM Orchestra.

Pamela Z with members of the SFCM Orchestra.

Billed as a "secret show" only publicized through the band's mailing list, the show was in keeping with the Residents' half-century of obscuring their real identities. It's something that drew student Maryann Gou (studying with Garrick Ohlsson) who played keyboards in the performance, to the project without being particularly familiar with the band's work."I think what first really drew my attention was the message and meaning behind the work. Because of the obscurity and the anonymity, they're able to go forward boldly and say whatever they need to without worrying about judgment because no one really knows who they are, and I think there's some sort of power in that."


The Residents' "Secret Show: (Live In San Francisco)"


Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) student Garret Nothern, also involved in the performance, was and said he was "shocked" at "the opportunity to share the stage with some truly inspiring people," adding, "being able to take a bit of a privileged peak into the archives and under the hood of some of these works  … I wouldn't have guessed that I would've had this opportunity a couple months ago."


Learn more about SFCM's Winter Term.