Warch Campus Center contracts company to provide music in café

Maggie Brickner

Recently, the café has undergone some noticeable changes in its sound system. Café employees now announce order numbers over a microphone, while recorded music is played throughout the day.

These new changes started out as a way to create a more professional, relaxing atmosphere in the café. Junior Jake Woodford, the student who oversaw the café’s installation of sound equipment, explained some benefits of the new system.

Woodford said, “The old method of shouting orders was most importantly hard on the servers, who might have to shout for the entirety of a shift.” In addition, it was often hard for customers to hear orders being called out in the crowded, noisy room.

In response to this problem, the project was completed with the cooperation of the campus center staff and Bon Appétit. Bon Appétit is responsible for the music programming and pays the monthly service fee as a part of its business expenses.

Woodford, who already worked in the Warch Center, explained, “I installed the current sound system in the café using mainly equipment the University already owned, and along the way we decided to use the system for both orders and music.”

While working on the sound system, Woodford “suggested we put in the capabilities for music, and it was discussed with management.” After some discussion, the idea came to be a reality.

The music now heard in the café is provided by an outside music service, Muzak Holdings, LLC. Woodford described Muzak as “a major player in the commercial music business,” and explained that the company “ensures that [the artists whose music is played] are properly compensated for their work.” Bon Appétit has entered into a five-year contract with the company, ensuring that this entertainment is here to stay.

“Muzak offers the capability to break the day up into different sections, where any number of nearly 100 genres can be played. That’s why you might hear jazz in the morning, and singer/songwriter tunes in the afternoon — so it’s been a constant tinkering to get the music dialed in,” said Woodford.

Although the new system is open to suggestions from other students, Woodford emphasized, “We want to portray our school in the best possible light. It is definitely a café, and is going to stay that way. We want to keep the atmosphere as a refreshing as possible.”

To retain a calm atmosphere, Woodford noted, “We can switch genres to play music in line with the mood of the café at the time, whether it be studying or trying to wake up before class in the morning.”

Much of the music played is in the singer/songwriter genre, although genres of jazz, folk and some bluegrass have been used as well.

The sound system was not originally installed when the campus center was constructed, because it was felt that the installation of speakers would encourage blaring loud music not conducive to a relaxing study environment.

Woodford reflected, “While we’ll never be able to please everyone all the time, it is my hope that the music adds warmth and a better environment to the café.”

Beginning in early March, music will also be played in Kate’s Corner Store. Any comments or suggestions on the music should be directed towards Bon Appétit on one of the comment cards available in the café, Kate’s and at the entrance to Andrew’s Commons. A survey on the new music will be available within the next several months in order to gain more insight on the community’s preferences.