Western Education Starts with Higher Education

The ‘Secret’s Out’: UMass Lowell Band Releases Acclaimed Debut

Western Education, from left: drummer Mark Ragusa, singer/keyboardist Greg Alexandropoulos, guitarist Georgio Broufas and bassist Will Hunt.

Western Education, from left: drummer Mark Ragusa, singer/keyboardist Greg Alexandropoulos, guitarist Georgio Broufas and bassist Will Hunt.

07/28/2014
By David Perry

Greg Alexandropoulos ’14 knows his way around the ever-faster world of technology, but it was an old-fashioned flier stuck to a bulletin board in Durgin Hall that set one of the region’s most buzzed-about bands in motion.

The flier sought fellow musicians to form a band. It would be his first.

“And the guys in the band now were the only ones who answered,” says Westford native Alexandropoulos, the band’s singer/keyboardist, with a chuckle. “One and done!”

And now, the quartet of former and current UMass Lowell music students known as Western Education has released its debut CD, “Let Your Secrets Out.” Influenced by the likes of New Order, Depeche Mode and The Killers, the disc (available at Newbury Comics, or digitally, through iTunes) has more hooks than a bass-fishing tournament. It arrives just a couple months after the band reached the semi-finals of the Boston Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble.

“If you took UMass Lowell out of it, none of this would have ever happened,” says Georgio Broufas, Western Education’s guitarist, who is pursuing a master’s degree in music education at UMass Lowell.

Broufas and Alexandropoulos, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in music business, are joined by bassist Will Hunt and drummer Mark Ragusa, who have both undergraduate and graduate degrees from UMass Lowell.

“I heard my first Killers single at 11, began taking piano lessons at 12 and studied singing at UMass Lowell,” says Alexandropoulos. 

 “We all come from different backgrounds musically,” says Broufas. “There’s ‘80s new wave, metal, I am more into alternative rock—I guess it’s a little bit of everything that makes us pretty flexible.

“But, you know, in the end, the song is king, basically. We’re hard on ourselves. Can we make the chorus stronger? Can we do this, that? Are we done? You can’t just have one hook and call it a song. There’s more to it. And we all write and really know the process and I think a lot of who we are has a lot to do with going to UMass Lowell.”

Sound Recording Technology visiting professor Mike Testa calls them “not only great musicians, but really humble and nice people,” and “a good representation of UMass Lowell.”

And there’s one more UMass Lowell connection. Music business student Regina Alongi did the album’s artwork.

The reviews sing the band’s praises. 

The band’s “knack for constructing an album that contains the essentials astonished me,” wrote Jed Gottlieb in the Boston Herald.

Fans can see—and hear—for themselves when Western Education plays Lowell’s Last Safe & Deposit Co. on Aug. 22.