School of Music Lecturer Opens Studio Space, Percussion Instrument Rental
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle
If College Park’s Discovery District feels like it’s got a new rhythm lately, there’s a good reason for it. Today, a University of Maryland lecturer and National Symphony Orchestra timpanist launches a studio space and music instrument rental outfit in the area, with the aim of making instruments, equipment and facilities more available to a wide range of musicians.
“A lot of people don’t have access to high-quality instruments, or access to a place to practice them,” said Jauvon Gilliam, founder of Capitol Percussion + Backline Rentals (CP+B) and co-director of percussion studies in UMD’s School of Music (SOM). “I decided to create a space that would give people from all walks of life the opportunity to hone their craft in an aesthetically pleasing environment. The best space (for it) happened to be right under my nose.”
The 8,900-square-foot membership-based space on Rivertech Court is home to four studios, used for recording, rehearsals, individual practice, private lessons, podcasting and more. CP+B also rents 31 drum sets, over 200 amps, more than 90 keyboards, DJ equipment, strings, choir risers and more—“everything you would need if you were coming into the DMV to put on a performance,” said Gilliam.
Gilliam has been running CP+B from temporary spaces since 2014, when he thought he’d just rent his personal instruments to friends. The Rivertech Court location marks the company’s first permanent home, in a research park that houses more than 60 private companies and nonprofit organizations, four federal agencies and some 6,500 employees.
The business, now with four full-time and three part-time employees, is an extension of Gilliam’s lifelong love of music, which has taken him to perform with orchestras from Budapest to San Francisco. He’s been the principal timpanist with the NSO since 2010, and on the SOM faculty since 2011.
“We actually have a rock star in our midst—or a symphony star,” said Ken Ulman, the university’s chief strategy officer for economic development. “The fact that he’s creating jobs and bringing his business here, that’s what we want.”
Gilliam hopes the space, which he calls “The Shed,” will “give people the energy and vibe to want to make music” with its modern rustic look. “We’ve all practiced in these dank basements and warehouses. We want to give people a place to work that they want to come back to.”
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