February 16, 2014 by Danielle Morrone
Every Monday from 2:45 to 3:10 p.m., a group of students and a teacher meet in room D205 to share with each other their love of music and videos in an open and supportive environment. This small but dedicated group call themselves the Toga Beat Lab.
Toga Beat Lab was started by students Hudson Payer and Jake Brooks with staff member Robert Hill. The club is now jointly run by Payer and Hill, as Brooks is busy preparing for college, and as such doesn’t have the time to devote himself fully to the club. Originally consisting of about 25-30 people, the three founders expected that they would have a core group that showed at every meeting and some other people who drifted in and out every once in a while. This has for the most part been true, with the numbers of the group decreasing at times. According to Hudson Payer, the wavering amount of members is not exactly a bad thing.
“You can have a smaller group and really focus; people who are really excited about it,” said Payer.
When the club first began, the members of Toga Beat Lab would use electronic devices such as iPhones and iPads to produce a series of musical beats. These beats, when uploaded to an online audio distribution platform, a website called SoundCloud, gave the members the possibility to share and review each other’s work. However, with the change of semesters, Toga Beat Lab has recently taken a change of direction.
The club is starting to switch its focus towards videos. The plan is to brainstorm ideas and develop a project to work on, which they will film on school property. Toga Beat Lab is seeking to post the videos on YouTube, where they can be compiled into a single video for a small festival. The lab has recently taken on the task of re-editing the freshmen orientation video by the school. The club plans to reshoot some scenes and edit others in order to bring the length down from the current 30 minutes to the desired 20.
With the change in direction, there is of course an expected group member change. There are those that will leave, members who may be less video oriented, and those that will choose to stay with the club’s new direction, along with possible additions to the group in the form of the Independent Film Makers Club.
Once run by Hill, the Independent Film Makers Club recently ended when the teacher in charge left for the middle school. Now its members may join the Toga Beat Lab.
Although there will be some changes to the club’s members, the switch from music to video was not without thought. The decision, discussed heavily within the group, received a great deal of support.
“We’re seeing what happens; there’s no harm in trying,” said Hill.
There are some possible future changes as well. There is a plan to hold elections for club office positions later in the year. Also, depending on the popularity of videos, the name of the club may change next year to reflect its new direction.
“We’re really just starting,” said Hill.
Danielle Morrone is a Lightning Rod staff writer.