In the Round: Wax on Felt brings musicians and songwriters together


Acoustic guitar chords, piano melodies, and raspy harmonica notes flooded Piano Row’s Multipurpose Room  as singers seated in a circle took turns crooning about everything from the loneliness of a city to the dangers of falling in love with a co-worker. 

Eleven Emerson students, and four students from Berklee College of Music, gathered Tuesday night a 7 p.m. for Wax on Felt Records’ 2nd annual In The Round event, an opportunity for local singer-songwriters to share an original song with the community. 

Wax on Felt, Emerson’s only student record label, signs two rising artists a year and strives to promote new work around campus by hosting several concerts and open mic events every semester. According to Hailey Rowe, senior visual and media art major and president of Wax on Felt, In The Round was well-received by songwriters and musical lovers when held last school year, and was revived this spring in order to continue the support for original music. 

“We’re all here for the same reason,” Rowe, who specializes in sound design told the crowd on Tuesday. “We’re here to showcase songwriting in the Boston area tonight.” 

Singers of genres ranging from folk to country were urged to discuss their writing processes before performing. Rowe also encouraged the audience to make the event a collaborative effort by adding hand-clap percussion or vocal harmonies on top of the songs when appropriate. 

Freshman Billy Boorn, a visual and media arts major, waited patiently with his acoustic electric guitar until it was his turn to perform his own work, a post-apocalyptic song he wrote his senior year of high school called “Graduation Day.” 

After the show, he described the benefits of performing live in front of a music community. 

“Playing at events like In The Round is fun because it allows me to try out new ideas, and see directly how audiences respond to my music,” said Boorn, a visual and meAn aspiring singer-songwriter, Boorn has been composing original verses since he was in sixth grade. He says he tries to go to at least one open mic event a week to hone his skills and get feedback on his new musical endeavors. 

“It’s refreshing to hear reviews from people who aren’t my friends or parents,” Boorn said, “and are more willing to be honest with [me]about my work.”