Jeff Hafner '02 to lay the 'Foundation' in Alumni Hall

by Nina Edelman | 5/9/02 5:00am

This Sunday at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall, the Dartmouth community will have a chance to experience the music of an inspired artist, Jeffrey Hafner '02. The concert, which will serve as a CD-release party, senior recital and culminating experience for the honors music major will feature the tracks from his new album and senior thesis, "Foundations."

When it comes to music, I'm one of those people who likes a little bit of everything. And that is exactly what "Foundations" has to offer.

The variety of musical genres covered in these songs, from love ballads to a string quartet to an a cappella song featuring Hafner's voice recorded 10 times over, give the CD a life of its own. Like the scenes of any great film, the tracks flow flawlessly from one to the next, creating an overall sense of unity.

"The album tells a story, which is something I take pride in; there's cohesion in it, and I feel like it says a lot about who I am as a person and as a musician," said Hafner. "It's very autobiographical, a kind of personal journey over the last four or five years of my life."

Hafner composed and performed all 13 songs on the CD and also engineered, recorded and mixed "Foundations" completely on his own.

Hafner's musical background began with his playing the piano at the age of five. Hafner has since been involved in several choral groups, both in high school and at Dartmouth, including The Cords and the Dartmouth Glee Club. He has also taken voice lessons from Louis Burkot.

Hafner began writing his own music in high school, sung in the All-New England Chorus and wrote and recorded a song played at his Senior Prom.

For his prowess as a music major, Hafner gives much credit to the department's Foreign Study Program in London, calling it "an experience like nothing else." In nine weeks in London, Hafner saw more than 40 concerts in and around the city. He also took private lessons with instructors at the Royal College of Music.

He is extremely grateful for the chance to create this CD. "I'm still amazed that I was given the opportunity to develop my songwriting and playing through a project as creative as this thesis," Hafner said.

The CD features Hafner playing the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, piano and synthesizer. He also used all of his own vocals on "Foundations."

Guest musicians on "Foundations" include two members of the popular campus band Dave's Gone Mad, who will perform with Hafner this Sunday.

Evan McBeath '04 and Jeff Herbert '04 can be heard on "Foundations" on drums and solo guitar, respectively. In addition, Lindsay MacIndoe '01 played cello, Noah Shamosh '04 played tenor saxophone and Amanda Ameer '04 played the orchestral harp.

Professor Hafiz Shabazz, director of the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble, also added an extra dimension to "Foundations," playing the congas on a truly unique and vibrant track called "The Groove."

Other songs on the album that stand out include an addictive ballad called "I Stay," which belongs on the top of every girl's romantic song list, a rock-and-roll version of Dartmouth's Alma Mater and the album's title track "Foundations."

The free concert this Sunday in Alumni Hall will feature Hafner, Dave's Gone Mad, food catered by the Hanover Inn and the debut of Hafner's first music video, filmed and edited with the help of Jethro Rothe-Kushel '03.

"Foundations" is one of the best CDs I have heard in a long time, so heed my advice: go for the music, stay for the food. It's going to be an amazing show.