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Music employee never misses a beat

Monday through Friday from 8 to 5, Christopher Walker works in an office on the University of North Texas campus managing tasks handed to him by the College of Music’s divisions of Composition Studies and Music Education. He is the administrative assistant for both areas, planning various activities and keeping them organized. But, when he is not busy juggling these successful programs, he has his finger on the pulse of Denton’s thriving live music scene.

“I’m a booker, talent buyer and sound engineer at Andy’s Bar on the square,” Walker said. “I’m also a board member and chorister for the Denton Bach Society, and I am in a band made up of other recent UNT composition alumni called Pansy Moon. It’s a neat little avant-pop outfit. We were actually just on the ballot for nominations in the Best Alternative category of the 2016 Grammy’s for our album Night on Elba.”Christopher Walker

He also runs a big online project founded while studying music composition at UNT. A collaboration with a group of friends – UNT alumni Amy Golden, Jen Hill, Will King and Jordan Kusel – sparked the development of the Errant New Music Collective, a website that organizes music and compositions to make content more accessible through blogs, podcasts and other medium.

As if that weren’t enough, Walker has recently found himself involved in another venture – he has joined the talent buying team for the annual 35 Denton music festival.

“I’ve been volunteering for a long, long time – probably the last six iterations of the festival, because there was that year break in 2014 – I’ve been a long-time volunteer,” Walker said. “I knew the two gentlemen, Dallas Guill and Charlie Hunter, who are the main talent buyers very well. I was organizing something else here on campus with them, and I had been booking their label stuff at Andy’s before, and they just invited me on board. It’s been really fun.”

He says they currently have more than 130 artists in the works for the festival, including hip-hop artist Biz Markie, which runs from March 11-13. Walker attributes his success to skills he developed as a student at UNT.

“I’d say the music composition degree directly can correlate to that,” Walker said. “As a composition major, you’re constantly pursuing musicians to play your writings and organizing performance logistics. Those are certain social skills that are tricky at times and it just takes a little work to get used to. Hopefully by the time you’re at your senior year of undergraduate work, you have that down. There also was a course on performing arts nonprofit organization management that provided me with a lot of the expertise I use on a regular basis.”

He says having connections on campus makes a big difference, too. He has met a lot of people through his position at UNT who are either in bands or have connected him to musicians he books.

“The College of Music is certainly an integral part of the Denton music scene, but it’s really all of the colleges, arts-wise, on campus working within the larger creative class in town,” Walker said. “Some of my favorite bands are made up of visual arts students, not necessarily music students, but a lot of it is tied together. The bulk of my communication base or pool of people are related to the university in some way or another.”

Walker says being involved with Denton festivals is a passion, and he volunteers for as many as he can, including the Thin Line Film Fest, coming up Feb. 17-21, and Oaktopia Fest, usually held in September.

“They are an experience every year,” Walker said. “They’re something I actually actively plan parts of my life around, much to the chagrin of my wife Kimberly.”

But, when it comes down to what he enjoys most about his work with the Denton music community, Walker pauses and thinks, then he is a bit shy in his response.

“I’m proud to be a member of the talent buying and show promotion community that is able to put artists at various stages of their careers on stage,” Walker said. “I hope they leave each experience feeling respected; that their time was worth it, and that they were compensated appropriately. I like having a positive impact on someone else’s career.”

-Courtney Taylor, news promotions

-Photo by Marcus Junius Laws

Posted on: Fri 05 February 2016

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