Genevieve Eckel and her guitar (photo courtesy Genevieve Eckel )
Genevieve Eckel grew up in a musical world. Beginning with piano lessons at age five with a deafened but resolute Irish grandmother, Eckel was immersed in musical lore for the majority of her childhood.
At age nine she found an old, battered guitar in her parent’s bedroom. Despite having only three strings, the child self tuned and practiced with the instrument to such an extent that her parents refurnished the piece.
That same guitar now stands as an old friend to Eckel, proudly displaying autographs from Dick Dale and Ronnie Montros.
Eckle began practicing with the violin at age nine as well, and continued to do so until entering high school.
“I basically started like everyone else did,” Eckel said. “[I played the] violin in the fourth grade.”
The fourth grade violin class introduced her to her best friend and current singer, Katie Harmon.
Freshman year at San Clemente High School, Eckel remembers falling in love with the drums at a pep rally assembly where a man beat out a tune on a large red snare and so cast a spell on the student. This event marked a turning point in her life.
Fixated upon percussion, the artist began to practice feverishly in preparation for upcoming drumline tryouts.
Unfortunately, she failed at the auditions and instead played the Timpani in the background. Rather than be put down by this disappointment, Eckel instead remembers the time fondly. She did however, make drumline in the eleventh grade.
During her time on drumline, Eckel met lifelong friend and current bandmate Terrence Nahina.
“I still hang out with a lot of those people [I met] on drumline,” Eckel said.
They even played together during high school in a small band called Nevermore.
A tribute band to old, vintage Green Day, Nevermore never left the garage but Eckel did learn to shred on a bass, further supplementing her growing musical arsenal.
Now, with a wealth of experience in a variety of areas, Eckel has come to Saddleback College as a musical composition major to further her career potential.
“I love saddleback, they have some great music teachers and a great music program,” Eckel said. “Some teachers I’ve had are really into the students and very suggestive as to what they would do in a given situation. But they are open to new ideas and experiences that a student might impose.”
She specifically applauded the efforts of Dr. Norman Weston.
“I plan on going to a very prestigious [musical] institute after Saddleback,” Eckel said.
With the goal of obtaining a master’s degree or even a doctorate in musical composition after Saddleback, Eckel is setting the bar high.
Her current band, Couch Party, plays a jazz-rock mix that so far has seemed to impress patrons.
Eckel plays guitar for the band, Nahina bangs on the drums, and Harmon sings and plays bass. They are very proud of their Rush setup.
Couch Party has played in solid venues like The Chain Reaction and The Wire. The band is currently negotiating a contract with the House of Blues for Dec. 27.
They have just released their first formal album Extended Play, which is a sample of their larger works. The EP features their two professionally recorded songs “Bop” and “Down in the City.”
Eckel works at the Coach House, a local concert hall. This has given her the opportunity to see an amazingly diverse artists perform and even the chance to meet musicians upon occasion.
“I think its pretty cool because I can walk up and talk to people in the dressing room,” Eckel said. “I can get autographs.”