An artistic homecoming

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Nathan Allen of Seryn performs at Dallas City Performance Hall last year.
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Seryn music comes full circle for big hall concert

AUSTIN — Seryn is in the midst of performing 11 concerts at this year’s South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, but the Denton band will bring its harmonic folk back home next week with a show at the University of North Texas.

On March 21 at the Murchison Performing Arts Center, the band will be making a full circle from where it first began, guitarist Nathan Allen said.

Seryn ventured to high mountains with soaring harmonies on its debut album, 2011’s This Is Where We Are, which led to a string of national performances. With summer-like harmonies and imagery-driven lyrics, Seryn’s music calls to mind banjos and ukuleles playing in a grassy knoll, or a church cathedral where the organ resonates off the rafters and stained glass windows.

The group’s vast talents in both harmonic vocals and pulsating instrumentation are sure to be evident at the Murchison, where Allen said its sounds will resonate off the back walls. The band is booked in Winspear Hall, the larger of two performance spaces in the Murchison.

It’s the same space where mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves has sung, and where faculty member Richard DeRosa’s arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s “America” from West Side Story was performed at the College of Music gala last year. Winspear Hall is an acoustic gem in Denton, constructed to expose sotto voce opera phrases and to make room for the massive sound of the Ardoin-Voertman Concert Organ.

If Seryn fans have ever wanted to hear the band’s full sound, from organ to cymbal, this concert will be the time and place for it.

“The show is kind of a return to how we got started,” Allen said.

The concert will be almost entirely acoustic, with a few string players supporting.

“In a lot of ways, it’s going to be an extremely raw and stripped-down performance focusing intensely on acoustics,” Allen said.

Not every band gets this rare opportunity, and Allen said it’s an honor to be performing at UNT, where acts such as Ben Folds and Wilco have played.

Allen said that when Seryn first started, the band carefully planned its sound, such as using strictly an upright bass, banjo and accordion. Now using heavy amplification and effect pedals during performances, Seryn is more plugged in. The band also has new members, Jenny Moscoso on guitar and vocals and Carlos Canlas on violin.

Allen said this upcoming performance will be a rare opportunity for both the band and audience.

Now infused with more beats, effects and grooves, Seryn keeps growing, the guitarist said. It takes the whole band to make its sound, each member supporting the others on stage.

“It’s just really all these elements coalescing, and we’re just feeling like we’re a new band — we feel like we’re starting over with Seryn again,” Allen said. “We started in a spot doing a certain thing and we’ve traveled a long way, and very long way from it.”

Next week’s Denton concert will be an artistic homecoming, he said.

 “This Murchison show is more of a harkening back to what we did before and where we came from.”

Allen said the band will debut songs that didn’t make it onto its latest album, in addition to some newly created works.

Seryn is looking to go on another national tour in April and then begin recording its next album in May. Allen said the new album could come out as late as next January or February.

The band is also being featured in an upcoming film, A Canvas of Sound: Seryn, An Independent Film, which will examine Seryn’s musical journey. The documentary is currently in the crowd-source funding phase.

On Wednesday during SXSW, Seryn played “Paths” and “Ivory Black” — two tracks planned for the band’s next album — at Darwin’s Pub and Grill in Austin. Seryn is reinventing its sound through its travels, and pushing boundaries — despite technical difficulties with the venue’s sound.

“One of our strengths as a band is being able to go into any situation,” Allen said.

There were a number of sound issues, Allen and Canlas agreed after the set, “but we made it happen and still grabbed the audience,” Canlas said.

“I think people dug it, it was fun, it’s South by Southwest. It’s ragtag punk rock no matter what you do,” Allen said.



When: 8 p.m. March 21

Where: Winspear Hall at UNT’s Murchison Performing Arts Center, on the north side of I-35E at North Texas Boulevard. Call 940-369-7802 or visit

Details: Tickets cost $20 for the general public, $10 for UNT faculty, students and staff. For tickets, visit

On the Web: To learn more about Seryn, visit or To learn more about the film about the band, visit



Nathan Allen

Trenton Wheeler

Aaron Stoner

Chris Semmelbeck

Jenny Moscoso

Carlo Canlas

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