The face behind the rally music

January 29, 2018 — by Chelsea Leung and Alexandra Li

At the start of his freshman year, current senior Kedar Abhyankar watched the rally commissioners race back and forth between running the audio, speaking to the crowd and doing their skit. When former leadership and Spanish teacher Rebecca Marshburn asked Abhyankar to manage the audio during rallies to lighten the commissioners’ workload, he was excited to experiment with music.

In sixth grade, Abhyankar was first exposed to electronic dance music (EDM), and he realized that music did not require actual instruments — it could be made with only a computer. His interest and pleading pushed his parents to buy a turntable for $2,000 on which he began experimenting and learned to mix music.

After helping out with the rally audio during his freshman year, Abhyankar progressed to also help run the Homecoming audio during his sophomore and junior year, eventually managing the entire sound system by himself during Homecoming his senior year as the student Audio Visual (AV) technician director. Over the years, Abhyankar has learned to master the process of running the music.

“There’s a lot of different things, like audience reaction, to pay attention to,” Abhyankar said.  “I pay attention to whether the audience wants more pumped up, more somber or more sad music.”

For example, during rallies, Abhyankar starts off with his rally anthem, which is “Soundclash” by Flosstradamus and TroyBoi. He then chooses songs from a playlist he creates from music he finds on YouTube.

According to leadership teacher Matt Torrens, Abhyankar is always reliable and dedicated, coming to school at odd hours to help with the sound system. Torrens remembered how, while decorating for Homecoming this year on a Sunday morning, the sound system was not working. Although Abhyankar was at a robotics demo, they FaceTimed and were able to fix the problem.

“It’s been very helpful because Kedar always comes right when we need him,” Torrens said.

After the implementation of a new and portable sound system this school year, Abhyankar worked closely with AV director Gordon Blancett to design and understand the functions of the system. Abhyankar has received recognition from and has gotten to know the staff, especially in the AV office inside the library. During breaks, he often sits in the AV office because the adults share similar interests with Abhyankar.

Because Abhyankar will graduate this spring, the future of the sound system management is unclear. Although he wants to establish a training system where a senior trains at least one junior every year, he has not found any permanent replacements.

“I don’t think anyone could really pick up where I left off since I do so much,” he said. “I try to get people to help, but they always say, ‘I have other things to do,’ or ‘It’s not fun,’ or ‘I want to have a turntable.’”

For Abhyankar, though, his future is clear. Using the experience gained in high school, he plans to DJ as a side job in college.

“In the future, I’d like to learn new mixing techniques and learn about audio mixing,” he said. “Who knows, maybe I’ll even do some classes in college for audio mixing now that I have such an innate passion for it.”