Written by
Videography by Sierra Roberts

Whitman College student band the Wind-Up Birds is something to crow about.

When film and media studies major Zac Bentz heard Mo Dow plucking his acoustic bass in the lounge at Lyman House in the fall of their first year at Whitman College, he asked the music composition major if he could accompany him on keys. That chance encounter led to further collaboration, a great friendship and, eventually, the formation of the synth-pop band Wind-Up Birds.

Over time, several more Whitties started jamming with the two, who are now juniors. In addition to Dow on lead vocals and guitar and Bentz on keyboards and synthesizer, the Wind-Up Birds now includes first-years Carsten Wallace-Bailey (guitar), Mia Castrina (bass) and Rudy Gupta (drums), sophomore Jonah Panzer on saxophone, and junior sociology-environmental studies major Leander Swan on trumpet. 

The band released its first album, “Sweet Dreams, Goodnight”—featuring Bentz’s younger brother Finley on drums—in October 2021, and performed their debut show at Walla Walla’s Gesa Power House Theatre in December of the same year. 

Like what you hear? Stream music from the Wind-Up Birds on Spotify and other streaming platforms and keep your ears open for new music from them soon—the band plans to release a new single, “Goodbye, Major Tom,” recorded with assistance from Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Michael Simon and Associate Professor of Music Doug Scarborough in April. They’re also working on a follow-up album tentatively titled “When the Lights Go Out.”


Flocking Together

The Wind-Up Birds band members come from near and far. Wallace-Bailey is from right here in Walla Walla; his fellow Washingtonians Panzer and Swan hail from Tacoma and Seattle, respectively. There are two Oregonians: Bentz, from Eugene, and Castrina, from Portland. Dow’s hometown is a little farther afield in Lafayette, Colorado, and Gupta is an international student from Navi Mumbai, India.