Trinity College Alumnus Returns to Campus to Release Debut Album, ‘79 Vernon Street’

Austen Ballard ’16 Shares Stage at the Mill with Current Students and Other Alumni Musicians

​Austen Ballard ’16 (left) and Cooper Jennings ’19 perform at the Mill on April 14, 2017. Photo by Jervon Adams ’20.
Hartford, Connecticut, May 1, 2017 – Trinity College students, alumni, and faculty members gathered at the Mill on April 14 for the release of the debut album by former Mill president Austen Ballard ’16. The album, “79 Vernon Street,” takes its name from the arts collective’s street address on campus. It is the first work recorded in the Mill’s student-run studio to see a wide release and features the musical contributions of numerous Trinity students and alumni.

The concert brought back to campus not only Ballard, but also David Klestadt ’16, another former Mill president, and his band, New York City-based Oh Oh Ecstasy. Ebban Maeda ’16 also appeared with Lolita, a band he co-founded as an undergraduate with frontwoman Lydia Haynes ’18. Film majors Paroma Soni ’17 and Kirill Gudkon ’17 were both on hand to film the event, while Jervon Adams ’20 took photographs.

In addition to being recorded at the Mill, the album was mixed in part at the Gruss Music Center’s new recording studio, where Associate Professor of Music Eric Galm helped arrange a mixing session with Visiting Lecturer in Music Matt Baltrucki. Ballard performed at the opening of the Gruss Music Center last spring.

David Klestadt ’16, Josh Gruss ’96, Associate Professor of Music Eric Galm, and Austen Ballard ’16 at the opening of Trinity College’s Gruss Music Center on May 19, 2016.
After Oh Oh Ecstasy opened the night, “79 Vernon Street” was performed in its entirety by Ballard, with an ensemble consisting of Tina Wu ’18 on keyboards, Malibongwe Thwala ’17 on bass guitar, Alex Rusbarsky ’18 and Max Fertik ’19 sharing drum kit and percussion duties, and Cooper Jennings ’19 on guitar. In addition to performing the album live, the five undergraduates each contributed to songs on the record. Fertik and Jennings then returned to the stage with Lolita, along with Maeda, Haynes, and Chuck Sweeney ’20.

“79 Vernon Street” is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music, and to download from Bandcamp. Follow Ballard on Facebook and Soundcloud.