Southern Utah University student Chris Hall is a senior majoring in Spanish. Although he plans to become a dentist, he spends his free time hanging out with his best friends and playing in their band, “Kuma.”
Hall began playing the guitar when he was 11 years old and stopped taking lessons as a junior in high school. He has continued to play music, though, and takes advantage of playing music to de-stress.
“I’ve always liked music. It’s my de-stresser. It’s my get-away from school,” Hall said.
“Kuma” means bear in Japanese. Hall explained that the name was created because one of the band members served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Japan.
The band was founded in St. George in fall of 2017, and although they slowed down for almost a year, Kuma is now back in full swing.
Hall is the only member that attends SUU, and the rest of the band lives in St. George.
Hall plays the guitar and sings, along with Barry Snow. McLane Keenan plays the guitar and is the lead singer, and Cade Gardner primarily plays the keyboard. The band members take turns playing the drums, but James Jimenez filled in during Kuma’s most recent concert.
Kuma does more than just play music. On Feb. 22, they put together a benefit concert and performed in St. George at The Roost. Proceeds from the event went toward John Ward and his wife, Marivic Ward, a couple that is recovering from a severe motorcycle accident. Hall hopes to plan another benefit concert this summer.
“I love being part of a band because it’s fun to play music by yourself, but it’s way more fun playing with people, especially if they’re your best friends,” Hall explained.
The band previously focused on alternative music. Their style has changed, and they are now moving toward a more Indie Rock style.
Kuma does write their own music, but they often perform covers of songs from “Hippo Campus,” a band from St. Paul, Minnesota. To listen to their music, click their soundcloud link on their Instagram page @kuma_nation.
Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos by: Chris Hall