Rams at the Grammys: Multiple VCU alumni in the running for Grammy Awards

Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon performed at The National last July.

Michael Todd
Staff Writer

Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon performed at The National last July.

A trio of VCUmusic alumni eagerly await the new year – and the accompanying results of the 54th annual Grammy Awards, for which they have received several nominations.

Michael D. Congdon and Dustin Faltz, who obtained their bachelors in music from VCU in 2005 and 2007, respectively, receive their claim to fame from engineering and producing rap artist Chris Brown’s “Deuces,” which is featured on his latest album F.A.M.E, nominated for Best R&B Album of the year.

According to Andrea Almoite, the director of marketing for the Music Department at VCU, Faltz channels his performance talents into a myriad of facets including voice-over artist, stage and screen actor, vocalist and studio musician, just to name a few.

Congdon, on the other hand, is the founder of the Artesian Entertainment Group, LLC, “which produces the highest possible quality media projects including nationally broadcast television series, feature films, radio programs … and mainstream music for top-level international recording artists, such as Chris Brown, P. Diddy … and Juniper Green,” according to Congdon’s website.

Reginald "Reggie" Pace, who tours with album-of-the-year nominee Bon Iver, is one of three VCU music graduates nominated for a Grammy award this year.

Additionally, trombonist and VCU Music alum Reginald “Reggie” Pace has recently joined musical forces with indie folk band Bon Iver, which has received several Grammy nominations including: Record of the Year for their album “Holocene,” Song of the Year for the album’s title track; Best New Artist; and Best Alternative Music Album.

However, because Pace joined the band after the album’s completion, it is unclear at this time whether he will receive an award in the event that Bon Iver does obtain any of the Grammys for which it has been nominated.

Pace was invited to join the band last fall by its founder, Justin Vernon, whom he met and became friends with while playing with Fight the Big Bull during Duke University’s Sound of the South. Over the summer, he and the band made it to the national television spotlight, performing on “The Colbert Report” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

Bon Iver

“Reggie has always been open to and enthusiastic about new possibilities; that’s why he’s been such a lightning-rod in Richmond,” said Antonio Garcia, one of Reggie’s former professors with whom he took jazz trombone lessons from 2002-04. “It’s no surprise that he’s playing…with Bon Iver.”

Pace is currently on a tour with the band that will take him across North America and even to Australia. While he is not featured on the actual album, he aids the band with aspects of their songs that would otherwise be difficult to play live; according to Garcia, this includes “brass, percussion, and beat-boxing.”

Pace also plays with three other Richmond based bands. No BS! Brass is a brass band that brings together elements of New Orleans to their innovative East Coast modern funk. Fight the Big Bull compiles big beat, jazz, and jungle into one “rapturously chaotic sound,” and Glows in the Dark is an avant garde experimental jazz quintet that plays the gamut from structured to improvised.


[sws_grey_box]The 54th Annual Grammy Awards will air Feb. 12th at 8/7c on CBS.[/sws_grey_box]


Photos by Mel Kobran

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