WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A new concert hall in Wichita provides a safe and unique space for performers and spectators.
“We see empty sites for all ages. We see the voids in the infrastructure of a sober community. We see all of these voids and feel like we’re not competing with anyone right now, ”said Entertainment Director Aaron Underwood.
Underwood and its business partners James Barringer, Geoff Kelley, Brody Baker and Jon Voges are the brains or collective members of the Muse Meridian Center, a more than 3,000 square foot performance hall in the heart of Wichita.
“Over the past four years we have tried very seriously to create the space for our vision, our vision being to incubate and uplift artists to be artists capable of attracting infrastructure, which Wichita’s music scene really needs it, ”Underwood explained.
Underwood, who is also a musician, has spent years traveling the country. He said most of the places he played were bars or had a bar-like atmosphere.
“What happens when all your music is in one place serving you poison, it almost ruins your life.” I can’t go out now and see music now in an environment where I don’t feel that pressure. It’s hard. I have lost enough friends to drugs and alcohol. I would really like to see a place for this community to build with a more positive vibe and not feel so alone, ”he said.
This was one of the sticking points for Underwood as he and his business partners worked to think outside the box.
“We had a bar that we were growing and right before it opened we just felt like we were contributing to the same thing that was going on and that if we did the same thing everyone else was doing, we were going to get what everyone else was doing. world has, ”Underwood said.
Muse Meridian, located at 301 S Meridian Ave, opened in 2021 as an event venue for all ages. Although still in the works, it is already serving many young local artists.
“It’s just wonderful to be able to be a part of this,” said Syrone.
Syrone, originally from Wichita, is a promising hip-hop artist. He was about to hang up his mic before meeting Underwood and his team.
“There are a lot of things that hold me back in this industry. Something they pushed me was’ Hey, we’re not going to have anything holding you back. We are going to have a drug-free environment. We are not going to drink alcohol here. It will be a place for all ages. The things that we are going to do are something that can be offered to the whole world, ”explained Syrone.
Syrone told KSN he has already seen the positive effects Muse Meridian has had on him and his career.
“I would be a lost soul. I would walk through the doors of people who don’t have my best interests at heart, ”said Syrone.
Musician Hector Almend shares a similar sentiment. He moved to Wichita from Dodge City in 2021. Shortly after arriving in town, he met Underwood and Barringer.
“They were so welcoming from the start. They were so nice and really put me at ease and let me go out more and just that helped me. They also help me with opportunities whenever they can. “Hey there’s this gig coming up here” or with tips like a while ago with songs and performances and it all helped in so many ways, ”Almend said. “Without it, I would definitely be in a different situation. It would have been much more difficult to contact people. I would feel like I was a lot more alone. “
Underwood said this was just the start for Muse Meridian. He said he would eventually like to see it become a place where artists as young as elementary school can take lessons and cultivate their craft until they are ready to release their first single or CD.
“I want this total package, this total vision to happen here,” Underwood said.