USF professor, students recognized on newly released rock album

July 21, 2022

Scot Little Bihlman works on a song in USF’s studio.

University of Saint Francis Music Technology Director Miles Fulwider feels extra satisfaction when he reads the liner notes for the new album he produced for his friend Scot Little Bihlman.

The notes within the album, “The Legend of Hipster Billings,” single out USF alumni David Detwiler (BS ’21) and Kibwe Cooper (BS ’13) and current USF student Haley Sorg.

They all contributed—in Detwiler’s case, with his skills as a musician—to the production of the album. “The Legend of Hipster Billings,” released on June 17, is charting on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. The album continues to receive positive reviews, along with airtime on radio stations around the country and online outlets. Much of the album was recorded in USF’s studio last summer.

“I enjoy bringing people here from outside the area,” Fulwider said of Bihlman, who is based in Los Angeles. “People who know of Saint Francis know the reputation of the program and involvement in community and it’s wonderful. But it’s interesting to see someone who comes in from the outside and doesn’t know what to expect yet falls in love instantly interacting with students.”

Sorg, who has an internship at Warner Music in Los Angeles this summer, and Cooper, a podcast coach and producer who hosts the EmpowerYou Podcast, were part of the crew who handled a variety of needs in the studio while Bihlman recorded his album.

Detwiler’s appearance as a musician came upon Fulwider’s recommendation.

“We wanted to have piano, keys and organ and those kinds of things and we were talking about hiring session players to do it,” Fulwider said. “I said, ‘We have a student here who is amazing.’ We hired David and he’s all over the record. He was fantastic. Some of the reviews of the album have commented specifically on the piano and organ arrangements. He did a very tasteful job with that.”

For Fulwider, who has worked with many well-known musicians—including Chick Corea, Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson—incorporating students into a professional environment is one of his most useful instructional tools. The students gain invaluable knowledge through observing, and even more through participating in the process.

“Particularly with Haley, she was just starting our program at the time, and she was able to participate in the recording sessions, she assisted in logistics, setting up microphones, and assisted me in processing and getting the desired sounds during the session,” Fulwider said. “Being able to do those things puts you in position to learn a lot. Not every session rides that same creative wave. There will be situations where things get tense and challenging, and students are in the middle of that, and it can be very awkward. They get to see all aspects of the dynamics in a session. These are some of the things you just can’t teach in a classroom.

“Our faculty who work in the industry—Phil (Schurger) and Mark (Everetts) who are incredible musicians, producers, composers and engineers, not to mention some of the finest educators, regularly implement our students in unique projects they are engaged in as well,” Fulwider said. “We have a shared belief about the intensity and hard work we do in the classroom, but our education extends outside of the classroom and I believe that this shows the dedication and how much we care about these students and creating these opportunities for them to grow and develop.”