Under the blacklights


Rider Electronica FaceBook Page

Electronica will occur at the end of April at Rider’s auditorium.

The lights dim and the crowd falls into a tense silence, unsure of what to expect. From the darkness of the stage, luminous green masks appear on black-clothed bodies. After a brief moment of anticipation, they take their places and the show begins.

Every year, the Rider percussion puts on their classic Electronica show. Featuring more than 90 minutes of memorized, student-executed music, this event showcases the very best of the students’ talents. This year’s shows will take place April 28-30 in the Rider auditorium.

Traditionally, Electronica has been very much like a concert, with the spotlight focused on the music. However, this year’s performance will be a little different.

In the fall of 2021, Rider welcomed a new director to the band staff. Thomas Borgman became head percussion director in place of Geoffrey Martin, who retired last spring. As a Rider alumnus and former Electronica performer, Borgman sought to breathe new life into this Rider tradition.

“My biggest concern is that I don’t want it to just be an hour of students standing there and playing without much else going on,” Borgman said. “My goal is to sort of continue that momentum but also take it in a fresh route and do some different things with it.”

This year’s show will feature a heavy plotline with several theatrical elements, including emphasis on skits and crowd interaction.

“I think it stems from wanting to take some of the best aspects over the years from past shows and put some of them into a different idea,” Borgman said. “I think it’s going to be similar to the way some of the shows have been run in the past, but with a few more moments where it’s not necessarily just music playing on a stage.”

While change can be good for progress, some of the older percussion students were reluctant to accept this new idea.

“I was a little nervous at first, but I’m excited for the layout and what (Borgman) has planned,” said Megan Smith, a senior and percussion section leader. “I think it’s going to be different from years past, but it’s going to progress the show instead of us recreating the same concept over and over again.”

Borgman even arranged some of the music himself. Months after the proposal and several hours of rehearsals later, the students are hooked on this new concept and excited to perform.

“I think they’ve really jumped on board,” Borgman said. “Not to say they weren’t at the beginning, but I think as we’ve gotten into more of the music and the theme has started to set in and we’ve all gotten closer to the show, I think at this point, we’re all just super excited to start it.”

As showtime nears, the students and staff that make Electronica possible are beyond excited to put on a show. 

“Overall I’m feeling pretty good,” Smith said. “I think as long as we keep our heads down and push, we will be OK.”