Starting in Calkins Hall, Moses rocks Mount Pleasant


Dorm rooms are not ideal places for a rock band to form, write and practice.

But in the beginning, Moses, a Central Michigan University-based folk rock band, didn't have much say in the matter.

"All we had were our acoustic guitars," said acoustic guitarist John Schaeffer.

Schaeffer, along with friend and band co-founder Nathan Zinzi, are sophomores from St. Claire Shores and live together with Royal Oak sophomore and percussionist Eddy Pendegrast in Calkins Residence Hall.

Schaeffer and Zinzi started the band when they came to CMU last fall. They had been in a band together called Category in high school, and have now lived and played together in Calkins Hall for two years.

Because they could only write music on acoustic guitars, the music they composed reflected their constraints.

"We wrote more relaxed music," Schaeffer said.

The band came together in the fall of 2010 and played their first show in April 2011 at a concert hosted by Moore Media Records.

Zinzi, the band's lead singer and acoustic guitarist, said Moses has since played about 10 shows around Michigan.

The band also features four other members, all CMU students, who add layers and the ability for people in the band to switch instruments.

"We love layers," Zinzi said. "We want to incorporate a lot of different sounds."

Pendegrast said the ability to switch instruments between band members adds to the group's creativity.

"That definitely helps us with creating new ideas and songs and opens a lot of options for us, which works out pretty well," he said.

Pendegrast said he played clarinet in middle school and has been playing the drums since 2007.

Schaeffer, who also plays the drums, said playing different instruments helps him write interesting parts for the band.

"I'm a drummer and I take that and write songs on guitar that are really percussive," he said. "It brings different styles together."

The band practices about five times a week, sometimes in the Music Building, and rarely still in their dorm.

"We're all very committed," Pendegrast said. "Even with school and work, we find time for everybody to come practice."

Pendegrast said the band wants to keep playing shows wherever they can, even playing acoustic sets outside their hall.

Playing with many different bands like Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers and Wavvy Hands has helped Moses gain contacts and confidence as a band.

"Without them (other bands), I don't think we could get out there," Pendegrast said. "A lot of bands today depend on successful bands to be successful.

"I want to get Moses to be known by word of mouth," he said. "I want to get to that next step"