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Allesandro RotondiThird-year music student Allesandro Rotondi met members of the Beach Boys after completing an unfinished composition by songwriter Brian Wilson.

Student parlays pet project into musical meeting

A course project provided an eye-opening introduction to the power of the arts for third-year music student Allesandro Rotondi when his work on an unfinished Beach Boys song became a chance to meet with members of the rock group.

For a class in ethnomusicology, Rotondi wanted to dig deep into the sound of the band, which he grew up loving. He set out to complete an unreleased piece recorded by Brian Wilson in 1978 — about a minute long, with a verse and an unfinished chorus.

“My goal was to take the song, finish writing it, and record it using instrumentation, vocal layering, and production stylistics reminiscent to what Brian Wilson may have done in the band’s 1960s heyday,” Rotondi says.

“I layered instruments like piano, ukulele, tambourine, sleigh bells, jangly guitars, bass and drums, on top of synthesized instruments like marimba and harp, and topped with eight tracks of vocal harmonies to give it the Beach Boy sound.”

Listen to the song, “I’m Begging You Please.”

When he “took a shot in the dark” and sent word to band members about his project, he was surprised to receive an invitation to bring a copy of the completed song for them during the Windsor stop of their worldwide concert tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of the album Pet Sounds.

“For me, this was an eye opener to the power of the arts, the community of music, and the possibilities that can be achieved when putting your heart into something,” says Rotondi.

His chronicle of the entire experience is posted to the School of Creative Arts website. Read the full article, “The Power of the Arts: My Experience with The Beach Boys.”