COLOMBIA – Compass Inc. launched its new music space on Friday morning. Columbia Mayor Barbara Buffaloe attended the opening event and made a proclamation.
Since 2007, Compass Inc. has operated as a non-profit organization providing music education, private lessons, workshops, promotion, networking, concerts and presentations.
The organization rents half of the Hillel Center from MU for its space.
The lease for the space was signed in August 2021. Compass Inc. received a $222,700 grant from Veterans United after signing the lease. VU funds financed the project to remodel its music center.
This year, Compass Inc. will host its 10th annual music camp. This is the first year the camp will be in the new space and the first year it will operate since the pandemic began.
Phylshawn Johnson, president of Compass Inc. and musician, said their goal was to have a space where everyone is welcome.
“And that, you know, is music-centric, music-driven,” Johnson said. “And, you know, if you want to learn to play an instrument, you’re welcome to come. If you want to come to a workshop, or camp, or play or just meet people, open mics and jams and all kinds of different elements of music on the space are available and welcome to you.”
To celebrate the opening of the music center, Johnson and Compass program director and musician Violet Vonder Haar performs at a concert at Rose Music Hall on Friday evening. Vonder Haar and Johnson perform as a duo between the “Fried Crawdaddies”.
Johnson moved to Columbia in 2003 and immediately joined the Columbia music scene. Johnson and Vonder Haar’s current band is Violet and the undercurrents. Johnson also has solo music under “Phylshawn”.
Johnson said adjusting to the pandemic was scary because the music industry was not the same.
“Our industry pretty much shut down. No shows. So we were an active touring band — Violet and the Undercurrents. And so that meant no touring,” Johnson said. “And so, it ended up being pretty good, because we needed a rest. You know, we had been touring for, you know, eight years straight.”
Johnson said it was exciting to be on stage again on Friday night.
“Because we just didn’t know what it was, how long it would be before we could play in front of people again. Like it was such a scary thing,” Johnson said.
Vonder Haar said he used the pandemic as a chance to focus again.
“During that break, that moment, it gave us a chance to redirect our focus and decide where we wanted to put our energy moving forward,” Vonder Haar said. “We focused on the campus music center.”
Johnson and Vonder Haar said people were eager to get out and listen to live music.
“…People needed music and needed to socialize,” Johnson said. “And music brings people together. And trying to watch a concert or a live stream was wonderful…kinda filled the void. But there’s nothing like being in a group of people and getting that energy moving.”
On June 19, Compass Inc. will host its first concert in its new space.
For more information on upcoming performances and Compass, visit his website.