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After over five years of inactivity from the Musicians of Business organization, three senior music marketing majors, Michael Kazenas, Hailey Smith and Dylan Isleng, decided to restart the program. Musicians of Business, also known as MOB, provides music marketing majors as well as other students interested in the field of music with experience in the art of music promotion in the industry. Dr. Stan Renard, assistant professor of music marketing, is the current adviser of the MOB program.

Kazenas, Smith and Isleng are students with varying music interests and talents who lead of MOB, which currently has 15 members. They are working on their biggest project, the UTSA Underground Festival, which is set to take place for a second time in April next semester.

Kazenas, the president of MOB, is a trumpet player and a drummer for Cinnamon House, a local band he created with his childhood friends 10 years ago. He and his bandmates have performed in areas around San Antonio and Austin. His passion for music is always growing.

“I picked the trumpet because I originally wanted to do the percussion at school, but spots filled up, and I ended up auditioning on the trumpet and saxophone,” Kazenas said. “They said they needed some trumpet players, so that’s how I got into the trumpet—I just kind of stuck with it. Drums, I was very passionate about, so I just kept with it over the years.”

Along with arranging the upcoming Underground Festival, Kazenas will also be performing at it with Cinnamon House and many other artists on campus.

“UTSA Underground is something that Hailey, Dylan and I started last semester, with a few other marketing majors,” Kazenas said. “It’s a live event we hosted where we went around campus and found students who have interesting talents, such as playing instruments, or maybe even poetry, dance, or painting or making sculptures and stuff like that.”

The festival will take place in the tunnel system underneath campus.

“We wanted to pick a unique location for this event, so we chose the tunnel system,” Kazensas said. “And so, we chose it because it kind of related to the name of the event—for instance, you don’t know that the person sitting next to you in class would have these talents, so it’s kind of hidden, and the tunnel system is hidden.”

Smith, the vice president of MOB, also participates in organizing the Underground Festival. She is also a vocalist and involved with the Music and Memory program and explains that she has been singing “ever since she can remember.”

“For me, learning a whole new instrument and expressing myself through another medium would be great, but to do it all on myself is just the way that I feel is most efficient,” Smith said. “My personal favorite is Lana Del Rey and laid-back acoustics, but I also really love classical music, which is what we’re trained in here (at UTSA). I really like singing Schumann pieces as well, and if I ever had the chance to do a Verdi opera, that would be amazing.”

She hopes to work for nonprofit organizations after graduating next spring.

“I’m looking to work in community outreach and reaching out to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to help facilitate people in music memory and music marketing sort of rehabilitation,” Smith said.

Smith said that the skills that are to be gained from MOB are different than the ones they will gain as the organization continues to grow. She said that as of now, she has gained a sense of togetherness.

“I’ve learned to check your e-mails all the time,” she said. “I’ve also learned to be flexible with who can do what and who’s available when, and to delegate different responsibilities to different people. I know one of my weaknesses is when I’m like, ‘I just want to get it done, so I’m just going to do it,’ but with something like this, with a bunch of people, everybody wants to be a part of it. So you kind of just have to let that go and delegate everything out to different people and just trust that everything’s going to get done.”

Smith said that she’ll always remember that the students of the music program were a “close-knit group of people.”

“We always have a sense of being a family almost—even though it’s orchestra versus band versus choir and all of the different things out there—we all have a set goal and that is music, we all love music,” she said.

Music has been a huge aspect of Isleng’s life. He has been a part of an orchestra since the sixth grade. He said that he was always interested in rock music, but through orchestra, he developed an interest in jazz, which “opened a whole new world” for him in performing.

“Orchestra is mainly where I developed all of my musical skills, like learning how to read music, and it set me up to where I first decided to become a music major,” he said. “I guess that’s also what really opened me up to San Antonio, like coming to the All-State TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) convention that happens every year and just seeing the different cultures here in San Antonio. It just helped me become a better musician—to be able to play along with other people and perform next to them.”

As secretary in MOB, he is in charge of interacting with other members.

“It’s helped me already, just with communicating with people because I used to not be comfortable with sending out e-mails to people I didn’t know,” he said of his position. “And having to stay on top of people, like telling them, ‘Hey, show up to this,’ and ‘Hey, do this,’ because I used to be a pretty reserved person. Being a musician in general and giving outside of school have just helped me be really comfortable talking to people.”

Isleng hopes that MOB “keeps getting better and better,” and wants to see more people join the organization in the future. The program is open to anyone interested in music marketing or promotion.

“With Dr. Renard joining the faculty and being the Music Marketing adviser, he’s really lit a fire in this whole idea of Musicians of Business, so I just hope to continue to see it grow,” he said. “And with that, I think we’re really expecting to see a bigger turnout at UTSA Underground. We were really impressed last year with what we did with so little—now we have so many resources and faculty to back us. It should be a really good thing.”

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