Beloit’s been quite a ride for Tony Renzema’22

A flexible curriculum, liberal arts focus, and affordability first drew Tony Renzema to Beloit. He’ll graduate with a major in media studies after recording two albums in college music studios, playing to appreciative fans on campus, and touring with his band.

From left: Tony Renzema'22, Evan Watkins'21, and Philip Adrian'21 from the campus band Sa... From left: Tony Renzema’22, Evan Watkins'21, and Philip Adrian'21 from the campus band Saturn Hat.When he was on the hunt for schools, Tony Renzema was exposed to a book called Colleges that Change Lives, which features Beloit. From there he toured and applied to four of the colleges. Affordability and financial aid were primary factors when it came to making the final decision, but it was Beloit’s flexible curriculum and liberal arts focus that hooked him. “It matched best with what I was already doing,” he says, “[and] provided the balance of structure and choices that I wanted.”

In his first year, he took a variety of courses, including one in zoology and many in the arts, testing the waters of all the possibilities available. Ultimately, Tony says that “it was a little bit of the extracurricular stuff [he] was doing on top of finally satisfying some curiosities about the movie industry” that led him to pursue a media studies major.

An intro to broadcast production, which he describes as an intensive course on basic cinematic camera use, got him started. He’s enjoyed others, including an art class in book binding and a zoology course in which the starfish captivated him most.

He says the music capstone, which will have him recording his own album next semester, is the most formative class he has taken at Beloit. As a sophomore, music became more than just a hobby for Tony and his friends. Their band –– called “Saturn Hat” –– began in the basement of Music Haus, a former special interest residence on campus where the band first practiced and performed. “Music Haus is a legendary establishment that is no more, sadly,” Tony says.

Tony Renzema'22, center, with members of the campus band Saturn Hat. Tony Renzema’22, center, with members of the campus band Saturn Hat.Beloit College has been instrumental in the band’s growth in more ways than one: Saturn Hat recorded its first album over six months at Maple Tree Recording Studios at the Center for Entrepreneurship (CELEB). The band recorded a second album in just 18 days in the basement of the C-Haus, the campus pub.

“We learned a lot by being able to use that (CELEB) studio,” Tony says. It allowed Tony and his friends to learn not only the ins and outs of the studio equipment, but also how they work best together as band members. He also notes that way back when he first toured Beloit’s campus, C-Haus was one of the destinations that caught his attention. He even goes so far as to consider it as one of the primary reasons he chose Beloit.

Having now performed with Saturn Hat in Oregon, Montana, South Dakota, Ohio, and New York, Tony affirms that the band is proud to say they are from Beloit, Wis.

“We say that at all our shows,” he says, “‘We’re Saturn Hat from Beloit, Wisconsin, what the heck is up?’”

By: Grayson Jensen'25
December 02, 2021

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