Witnessing local band Midstate Select perform features the group moving seamlessly through two different modes: a goofy group of friends who effortlessly bounce off each other comedically to a sophisticated set of musicians who weave harmonies and poetic lyrics into a folk paradise.
Formed amid the coronavirus pandemic, the band consists of Anna Pearl Belinda, Sam Christensen, Sam Milz and Sean Heffernan.
The group united after performing with other previous bands at bars like Zeno’s and Cafe 210 West. “Everything I Do” — a song that features Belinda’s vast vocal range — essentially marked the beginning of what is now Midstate Select.
Milz’s father observed how the members were all in what is often considered more of a transitional period of life. Thus, the “Midstate” element of the band was born along with State College’s location in the middle of Pennsylvania.
“It’s like we're in the middle of the state,” Milz said with a laugh. “I think I sent [Belinda] a picture of a map of Pennsylvania.”
“Look at a map,” Belinda replied jokingly.
Whereas “Select” was gathered from how the band’s upcoming album features “a select bunch of people we’ve kind of met through the music scene in State College,” according to Milz.
Midstate Select primarily writes its original songs through a collaborative process — each member brings their own unique talents to the songwriting table. And though Christensen said the pandemic proved its difficulties at times through finding ways to safely rehearse, Belinda added it was still “great for songwriting.”
“Not to sound cheesy, but [the pandemic] was kind of a blessing for a lot of us because you couldn’t do much,” Belinda said. “It was our tight knit circle… [Songwriting] was all we did — we were hanging out a lot.”
Midstate Select will release its debut album in the near future while it continues to energize the State College community through local performances.
Jade Campos, Jeremiah Hassel, Evan James, Becky Marcinko, Ben McClary and Sophia Montanye contributed to this production.