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The uO Casual Band is a great place to jam. Image: Casual Band/Provided
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The uO Casual Band is one of the U of O’s newest music-oriented clubs

A discord message into the club server asking if anyone knew of a club to play music drew the interest of many of the current executives to start the Casual Band. As opposed to uOTalk Music, Casual Band is more focused on the playing of music than discussion.

The club started with a group of current students bonding over the desire to continue their musical practice, as the university does not allow students who are not in the school of music to join ensembles or book practice rooms. Every member of the Casual Band’s executive comes from a different program and faculty, but none study music. 

The grou’s vice president of outreach, Bariş Çepni, was surprised to see the difference between the music community in Ottawa and in Turkey, where he completed high school. After having being involved in musical programs all throughout his high school education, he was “shocked that there were no opportunities to get involved in music at the University out of the classroom.”

Each member of the club had a different path with music before coming to the U of O. At the Casual Band, there are no requirements for skill level — it’s open to everyone. For vice-president of management, Jonah Hamer-Wilson, their interest in music has always been prevalent, but that interest was reignited with the Casual Band, and having the ability to practice again. 

The executive is trying to foster an environment that is welcoming; where the opinions of the club members are at the heart of all decisions and events. They aim to release different music for the various skill levels and interests for their ‘jam sessions’ — drop-in times run by the club to allow members to come together and play, whether solo or in a small ensemble. The music released beforehand is used as a guide for what members can expect if they want to play with others during the jam session. The first jam session of the year was on Oct. 7 in Lamoureux Hall.

Evidently, the club is bonded together by a passion for playing music. Another member of the executive team, Erica Faulkner, is a first-year student who speaks highly of the music community she has found through the club at the University. Coming from her small hometown in Newfoundland and Labrador, she was worried her passion for music might not have an outlet when moving to Ottawa. The uO Casual Band provides a community of individuals who all come together to play music, regardless of their previous experience, in an environment where the only requirement is to have an interest in playing.

One plan for the year includes a concert-style string ensemble that will play at a high school level in a mix of genres. The club is still fiddling around with other ideas for the year, including talent shows, group performances, and recitals. Stay tuned for updates by following uO Casual Band on their Instagram @uocasualband

If you’re looking to play, learn some music, or tune up your skills, the uO Casual Band is a great place to jam.


  • Ainsley Jeffery is a third year student completing a Joint Honours in Political Science and Communications. She is passionate about student engagement on campus and when she isn’t in class she can be found reading in FSS.