MIR ROR 1.11.2017
SINGS SING FOR OBAMA | 5
Q&A WITH REPTAR BASSIST RYAN ENGELBERGER | 6
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH PB AND FNR | 7 TANYA SHAH/THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF
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Alright, alright, alright. It’s Week Two and your Mirror editors are back in the newsroom for another night of downing KAF coffee, comparing InDesign tips and investigating whether eating a raw potato is a crime. And, of course, we’re listening to Spotify as we work. In this music-themed issue, we profile student groups, talk with a former student who’s making it big in the industry and delve into musical outlets on campus. If you’d like to enjoy some background music while reading the issue, we each picked a song that we’re currently hooked on. Your 17W playlist will be coming together in no time. Ali: Lucy and Mikey’s music tastes are far more obscure than mine but no one can deny that Anderson .Paak’s sound is warm and hazy and makes you get up on your feet. .Paak deftly combines threads of gospel, boom-bap, R&B, rap and groove across his sophomore album. “Come Down” and the rest of “Malibu” is the perfect record for any activity, going out with your friends on a Friday night, singing in the car with wind in your hair, or nursing heartbreak on your dorm room floor. Plus, he’s got a killer smile. Lucy: I recently discovered Rayana Jay, a R&B singer from the Bay Area, and have been listening to her song “Sleepy Brown” on repeat. She has a soulful voice, and it soars over the background of the track, exuding cool and confidence. I’m predicting that this talented young artist will go far — and to think that you heard about her here first. Mikey: “Tell the Truth” was just dropped in December by Dams of the West, Chris Tomson of Vampire Weekend’s solo project. It’s a solid jam for just about anything, such as running at the gym (which I never do) or motivating yourself to finish your readings (which I do often). The full album drops in February, so take a listen to this song, but don’t blame me if the beat is stuck in your head until then!
follow @thedmirror 1.11.16 VOL. CLXXIV NO. 6 MIRROR EDITORS MICHAELA LEDOUX ALEXANDRA PATTILLO LUCY TANTUM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RAY LU
PUBLISHER RACHEL DECHIARA
EXECUTIVE EDITORS KOURTNEY KAWANO ERIN LEE
Bach-Busoni Chaconne COLUMN
’19: I think it’s my pheromones or something, but this hockey game is really doing it for me. ’18: It’s as close as we can get in the modern age to men fighting over us.
By Clara Guo
I walk to the stage, two-inch heels clacking on the polished wooden floor. I stand in front of the grand piano, looking out over the parents and students who have gathered for our annual end of the year recital. “This is for Mr. Mang,” I say. I sit. I take three deep breaths with my eyes closed, silently humming the first few bars of Bach-Busoni Chaconne in D. I place my hands on the keyboard, my left pinky and middle finger on the D and F keys, my right thumb on the A. Andante maestoso, ma non troppo lento. Heavy. Burdened. Forte sempre. Molto energico. Angry. Subito piano. Desperate. Softly withdrawn. Mrs. Mang, my piano teacher, stands at the back of the room. My piece is a surprise tribute to her husband who passed away seven months ago in December of 2012. The Bach-Busoni Chaconne for piano was his favorite piece; he asked that someone play it for him when he died. Piu mosso, ma misurato. Leggiero ma marcato. Controlled frenzy. Glissando-like. Spinning — stopping — spinning. A fall. My best friend and I dance in the basement of his fraternity, yelling the lyrics to “Mr. Brightside” at the top of our lungs. No one else is singing or dancing. We hold paddles in our hands as we force the game to a pause. Our opponents are not amused by our love of The Killers. The chorus comes on, and I swing one leg onto the wooden table, followed quickly by my other. I hold my hand out to my friend and pull him up with me. We stomp on the table, slap the wooden beam above us and twirl around. Not one lyric is misspoken. Allegro moderato ma deciso. Infused strength. At peace. Standing. Ascension upward past the sun shining through parted clouds. When I was in elementary school, my figure skating coach told me to play piano before competing.
“Take your mind off skating. Distract yourself,” she said. I always stood with my back facing my competitors on the ice, eyes closed, fingers tapping away a Scarlatti sonata or Chopin étude on the tops of my legs where my dress ended. I stood in my own bubble, impervious to the applause and the coaches and the adrenaline surging through my body. No one spoke to me. I have not played piano in years, choosing a sport over an instrument. Now, when competing for Dartmouth, I plug my headphones into my phone and hit play on “Smile” by Mikky Ekko. I pace back and forth to the beat of the song with a slight bounce in my step, quietly singing along: “Smile, the worst is yet to come / We’ll be lucky if we ever see the sun.” Last February, my coach turned toward me, a laugh escaping her lips as if to ask, “That’s what you choose to listen to before you compete your junior long program of three-and-a-half minutes?” “Of course,” I wanted to respond. “The future is forgiven, so smile.” Crescendo poco a poco. Piu vivo. Climax. Enveloped by nature, carried upward. Higher. Faster. There’s a hypothesis that our emotional response to music is tied to our emotional response to human speech. Through evolution, our ability to identify emotional prosody has led to an ability to feel emotion due to changes in musical mode. When I grow up, I want to own a Steinway grand — a black piano with the top raised in a circular room built of glass. I want to play in the middle of spring, with the sunlight streaming in and the windows open, and let my memories dictate the movement of my fingers until Beethoven and Liszt and Bolcom come alive. I want to create stories out of notes. Tempo I. Largamente maestoso. A descent back to earth. Strength. Enlightenment. Resolution. I finish playing the Chaconne. It wasn’t a perfect rendition — there were wrong notes here and there, heavy pedaling at times to disguise imperfect technique. I stand up and bow. I see Mrs. Mang. Her eyes are red and she has forgotten to wipe away the tears that have run down her cheeks. This is the power of music, I realize. It brings us to tears, lightens our thoughts, distracts our minds, triggers our memories. Music remains a form of communication when words fail. Mrs. Mang walks toward me. She pulls me into a tight embrace and whispers, “Thank you.”
Introducing the Vomlettes COLUMN
By Elise Wien
This episode of “Two Indians and a Jew” opens with a pan. We see the room, light streaming in from the east-facing windows. Morning sounds carry up from Mass Row, this is prime eavesdropping territory. By the door is a black and white glossy poster of One Direction. Kayuri is a “Directioner.” I remember her saying this early on in our friendship. One of the first text conversations we had, in the summer of 2013 before we even moved in, was about our music tastes. I’m sure I brought it up and I’m sure I was posturing. Kayuri wrote that she loves One Direction, and I remember staring at my phone wondering why she was admitting this. Why wasn’t she posturing? Surely she was aware this was uncool and therefore unacceptable to admit so early on in the relationship. It turns out that Kayuri is fearless and uninterested in pandering to the snobby elitism that was my 17-year-old music taste. Soon would come the story of how she once drove for eight hours straight from Atlanta, Georgia to North Carolina, tailing the One Direction tour bus. In time, I would learn to get over judging people for their music taste, if not through maturing, then through repeated exposure to 1D’s “Midnight Memories,” which has worn away at me like radiation. Diagonally across from this poster is an autographed, life-sized cardboard cutout of 1D’s Niall Horan. Next to him — I will add — though this is not music-related, is a middle school-era homemade collage of Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s made of 40 (I counted) photos of DiCaprio, printed, arranged on a poster and sealed with transparent packing tape. It clearly took hours to make, but devotion knows no one like it knows a teenage girl. Born under different circumstances, Kayuri might’ve been a monk. Around the room are Friday Night Rock posters, and against the back wall is a pair of speakers that, most recently, were playing Jamila Woods’ “HEAVN.” “Make a plug for Jamila Woods’ ‘HEAVN,’ available to stream on SoundCloud,” Corinne said to me last night (I will also mention “The Truth About Dolls,” her spoken-word album, especially the track “Georgia O’Keeffe Explains to Her Husband What a Flower Is,” which I think about fairly often). Corinne is wearing a dark blue, collared flannel nightgown that hits mid-shin. She looks like the Ghost of Christmas Past until my eyes hit her socks-and-neon-Crocs combination, which is unmistakably Corinne. We are talking about our dream band, The Vomlettes. Vom-lette: the feminized version of a vomlet, that infamous beacon of hazing introduced in the 2012 Rolling Stone article about Dartmouth. We’ve taken on the subject with a mutual friend, who joined a fraternity at another school and told us about his time as a pledge, which he said included a blur of alcohol, milk, and at least one raw potato. If a pledge refused to perform the prescribed task, the pledge master would punish another pledge. This is like the character who, refusing to talk, has to witness his family member get tortured; it is a special type of psychosocial hell. We discovered this fraternity accepted a student who was acquitted from a rape trial despite the fact that he admitted to engaging in sexual activity with
an unconcious woman. “He told us about it and said not to do anything stupid,” the friend said. “You received a consent talk from a rapist,” was Kayuri’s response. “He was acquitted,” the friend said. As a room, we tried to explain to him that in addition to participating in a cycle of abuse, when the new pledges came, it would be his turn to torture them — which would be a point-blank moral wrong, though he responded that it was all in the name of “brotherhood.” It is true that being a woman isn’t easy, but masculinity is tragic. But back to the Vomlettes. As an homage to our origins, maybe we will be an intersectional feminist band with a “consent +” agenda. Consent + is the North Mass 310 notion that sex shouldn’t just involve two consenting parties but two enthusiastic ones who value women’s pleasure. Groundbreaking. We will also have an anti-hazing agenda, wherein we promote gentle hand-holding as a safe alternative to moshing during our more hardcore numbers. Kayuri contributes that she “played viola in middle school and flute for a hot second in the fifth grade. We were supposed to play ‘Hot Cross Buns’ but I learned ‘Jingle Bells’ so I showed up everyone in my fifth grade class.” Corinne contends that “Jingle Bells” is not much harder, but by this point Kayuri is already in the inner room and on her way to sleep. Corinne played the trombone, the baritone, and “could probably also do percussion.” She added that she was Dowagiac High School Spirit Club President (“Go Chieftains”). She tells us that her friend was “so jazzed” about Spirit Club elections because she poured so much time into the club, but members found her annoying. So Corinne strolled into the classroom that day, “And I was like, ‘I guess I’ll run,’ and I won and then my friend unfriended me on Facebook and unfollowed me.” “So the Vomlettes have enemies?” “Cool.” Last week Corinne told me that she got back to the room while Kayuri and I were asleep and I was rapping on the wall with my fist, so I, too, am a possibility for percussion. I hear I am a creepy sleeper, talking and kicking in my slumber. Over the break, while I stayed with my sister, she told me I had been laughing hysterically in my sleep. Freshman year, when I slept on the top bunk, I would kick the duvet off myself and onto the ground. I would wake chilly and confused by the blanket five feet below me, in the middle of the room. Apparently I sleep-mutter “I’m from New York” fairly often, which I understand as a manifestation of suburban insecurities. Point is, I may make a more interesting musician asleep than awake. I have an okay voice and think I might be good at writing lyrics. Freshman year, I auditioned for D-Style, which ended miserably when I said a line about Brooklyn then felt the need to follow it with a line about gentrification, backing myself into a multi-syllabic corner. So we have Kayuri on the viola, Corinne on the trombone, and me, horizontal and sleep talking into a mic. If we do not succeed at Fem-Punk, we’ll at least be avant-garde.
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Inside Dartmouth’s Colorful Music Scene By Marie-Capucine Pineau-Valencienne
A pre-med and a trumpet player. A soccer player and an a cappella singer. These are just a few of the students involved with music at Dartmouth. For a college known to attract an exceptionally sporty student body, the music scene on campus is surprisingly vibrant. Not only is the music scene alive and well, but many groups on campus have reached levels of quasi-stardom. By day, they are regular Dartmouth students, going to class and seemingly involved in ten different clubs on campus, but by night, they transition to bonafide musical sensations attracting crowds of students. “People just really do get rowdy for a cappella music,” said Sean Haughey ’17, musical director for the Dartmouth Cords, an all-male a cappella group. Haughey loves performing at fraternities and sororities because of the number of students the shows attract. “At almost every show there [is] someone shouting for one [of] their friends in the group, making it a fun environment to perform in,” Haughey said. Dartmouth boasts an impressive array of a cappella flavors for musically inclined students to choose from. There are nine groups, ranging from single-sex to co-ed, from socially-minded to Christian. Many members of the a cappella groups imagined they would pursue musically-oriented activities during their college years. Coming to college, Stephanie Everett ’19 knew she wanted to join the ranks of the Dartmouth Decibelles, the College’s first all-female a cappella group, when she heard the ensemble perform at one of her brother’s graduation events before her freshman fall. Everett, who is now a proud member of the Decibelles and also on the women’s soccer team, calls the a cappella group her “favorite group [she’s] a part of on campus.” Most of the students interviewed were also involved in a multitude of other campus activities. Take Brendan Barth ’17 for example: he is a member of the student band Half the City, plays in Dartmouth’s jazz ensemble Barbary Coast, is a pre-health mentor and was a member of the men’s soccer team. He now calls himself a “NARP” following the soccer season’s conclusion last fall. Haughey is another example of this overactive approach to campus life — he is the musical director of the Cords, a player on three club sports teams and a member of both the improv comedy group Dog Day Players and the campus freestyle rap group D-Style. There are also independent student bands which perform regularly throughout campus, such as SHARK or Half the City. Joining a student band was “exciting because you can do more of what you want to do,” Barth explained. And much like the wildly popular a cappella groups on campus, bands attract crowds of concert hungry students to their shows, playing originals as well as covers of popular songs by a diverse set of musicians, from Bruno Mars to Maroon 5 to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Stunned himself, Barth said, “Our band, Half the City, has like, a following!” Although their music differs, Dartmouth musical groups share a steadfast sense of community within their musical family. Ben Rutan ’17, the musical director of the all-male a cappella group Dartmouth Aires, explained that he felt the Aires was his “closest group of friends on campus.” Echoing Rutan, Haughey credited the friendships he made through the Cords as being far more rewarding than the music itself. “Twenty of my closest friends are the guys in the group,” Haughey said. “I really do mean it, they’re twenty guys I wouldn’t trade for anyone.” Whether students play for the music itself, the rush of performing or the friendships they make, one thing is certain about making student music at Dartmouth: it’s not easy. “It’s hard and it’s a lot of work, but its a lot of fun because we all just love singing,” Everett said. Dartmouth would be a vastly different place without the various student musicians and eclectic music groups that color our New England campus. In an effort to survive the at times colorless winter, we hope that they just keep singing.
Sing Dynasty Performs for the Obamas and at Pearl Harbor By Andrew Sosanya
The Sing Dynasty, one of Dartmouth’s a cappella groups, capped off 2016 in a remarkable fashion: performing for thousands at Pearl Harbor and then for the Obamas in the White House before the family departs in January. Before heading to Washington, D.C., the Sing Dynasty stopped in Hawaii for the second time on its annual winter break tour. The members performed at the 75th National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration on Dec. 6 and 7. At the Commemoration, they sang at three ceremonies: the Interfaith Prayer Service, Double Interment Ceremony and Blackened Canteen Ceremony. Taylor Lane ’20 was moved to tears when families mourned their loved ones as the ashes of survivors were placed into a gun turret of the fallen ship, USS Arizona. The group sang in front of a giant marble wall engraved with the names of Pearl Harbor survivors. Mourners cried as the group sang touching renditions of “Amazing Grace,” “When The Saints Go Marching In,” “The Naval Hymn,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” “It was probably the most beautiful space I will ever sing in my lifetime,” Lane said. “To see the light that music can bring in sad moments is incredible.” The group’s itinerary was unexpectedly lengthened when the members were told that they had secured the opportunity to sing at a White House holiday reception. They had less than two days to prepare songs. Some members had to quickly cancel their flights back home and reroute their trip to Washington, D.C. Danielle Piacentile ’17, president of the Sings, traveled from New Jersey to the John F. Kennedy International Airport; the airport to Honolulu, Hawaii; Honolulu to Kona, Hawaii; Kona to Honolulu; Honolulu to JFK; and then from JFK to D.C., she said. Unsure of the logistics of playing at a White House reception, the group was originally slated to play a onehour set filled with Christmas carols and songs such as “White Winter Hymnal” and “Someday at Christmas.” But afterwards, the members were suddenly told that they had five minutes to prepare a 45-second set to perform for the Obamas. Luckily, the group had a holiday hit in their arsenal — Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” President Obama’s head started bopping when Piacentile hit the notes in her solo. “I was nervous, and I was hoping not to forget the words because I just learned the song the day before,” Piacentile said. “[The Obamas] were literally five feet away from us.” Piacentile felt that the change in musical style was a nice refresher from the usual show in a fraternity house, where the group usually does covers of pop songs. She describes the performance as “affirming [our] musicality in a way we don’t get to on a normal basis.” For Julie Solomon ’17, musical director of the Sings, being able to perform at both events in Hawaii and Washington, D.C. was an “unimaginable experience,” she said. Three Sings alumni and two members who had been off-campus were also able to join the group in D.C., making it a special capstone to their tour. The Sing Dynasty hopes to release an album of its best covers before the end of spring term.
Talking Music and Life After Dartmouth with Reptar Bassist Ryan Engelberger Q&A
By Abbey Cahill
The Dartmouth sat down with Ryan Engelberger ’12, a former Dartmouth student who once missed a midterm to play at Lollapalooza, named his band after a dinosaur from “Rugrats” and inspires the rest of us to fearlessly pursue meaningful work. How did you get into playing the bass? RE: My first instrument was the trumpet. I was in third grade, and my mom wanted me to play in the orchestra. I said “No, orchestra is for weirdos — I wanna play trumpet!” Then in high school, I wanted to start playing guitar, and one of my friends was like, “I’m already playing guitar. You can’t play guitar — we need a bass player in the band, and it’ll be better for you anyway.” Years later, I honestly can’t deny that there is more need in the world for bass players than for just another guitar player. I’m still playing music and this dude isn’t. Did you declare a music major at Dartmouth? RE: Yes, I studied music. One of the most influential classes I took at Dartmouth featured a lecture from Philip Glass. As far as classical composition goes, people either love him or hate him, but it’s impossible to deny the massive influence he has had on both classical and popular music. Anyway, he talked about how he had studied music formally through various institutions until he was around 30, and then it took him a few years to unlearn all of the strict rules that he had been learning. Kind of like Yoda in “Star Wars”. You must unlearn what you have learned. I think it is inarguable that the time I have spent studying music has made me better at what I do, but I think it is also inarguable that I have been able to use it better in the years that I have not been studying it. It’s like, in baseball, if you’re learning to pitch, you have to learn about the physical technique of it. But the more you think about the physical technique — not the whole fluid motion — the more difficult it is to get a good pitch. That’s my real bad attempt at a sports analogy. How did you decide to leave Dartmouth and focus on music instead? RE: So there’s this one very vivid memory that I have. I remember standing in Dartmouth Hall and looking into my Spanish class. It’s ten minutes or so into class, and I’m supposed to be there, but instead, I’m sitting there on a conference call with a lawyer and a manager talking about negotiating publishing rights. It was a deal that was going to affect what would happen in the next couple years of my life. I realized that my music was important, but at the same time, it was taking away from me being fully present at Dartmouth. I was wasting the time and the money of the institution and the other students, and that felt super dishonest. It felt like a wasted opportunity. Every dean and professor that I talked to said, “Look at the end of the day, Dartmouth is going to be here. Your credits don’t expire. But that opportunity is a little more timely.” So I left. And in my mind, I’m still just doing a bunch of stuff outside of Dartmouth, until it’s time to go back and finish
SAPHFIRE BROWN // THE DARTMOUTH STAFF Home Body at a Friday Night Rock show.
COURTESY OF POP-BREAK.COM Reptar, which includes Ryan Engelberger ‘12 (far right) has played at musical festivals across the country.
my degree. How did your parents react to your decision to leave school? RE: My parents were supportive of my choice. They started a conversation with me over Thanksgiving break and they were like, “Hey we know you’re actually doing something with this music thing, so we think you need to make a choice.” So, they were totally on the same page as me. They gave me the punch. How’d you pick the band name Reptar? RE: I think it was us just being really dumb and hating every other name that we said. That’s the least dumb one, so we thought we may as well go for that until we change it. But we never got around to changing it. And now I’m a relatively full grown man who is constantly talking about a cartoon dinosaur. How would you describe the sound of your music? RE: Reptar has a little bit of a manic dance party sound, but over a pretty organic ’70s style groove, maybe. Most of the songs are meant to be danced to, but we try to do that by creating as interesting and different of a soundscape as possible. The stuff that I’m working on now is meant to sort of wear its emotional heart on its sleeves. I want the lyrics to be audible. It’s maybe more rock n’ roll. A bit more Bruce Springsteen and less Kate Bush. What were the first months like? Where did you stay? RE: We kind of made a last minute decision. We thought, “Okay, we’re not going to school next semester, so where do we want to live? [I] don’t wanna live at mom’s house.” So Graham Ulicny, our singer, and I ended up subletting a room in Athens, Georgia from some friends of ours who were on tour. I was on a blowup mattress in the living room, surrounded by screen printing materials. They had been doing screen printing for their album cover and they were in the middle of it when I left, so I was surrounded by stacks of maybe 1,000 record covers in this room. And I’m not kidding, probably 30 analog televisions. I woke up one
night, because one of them fell of a stack of records onto my air mattress and, like, shot me off the bed. What were your first couple years of touring like? RE: Within a year after leaving school, we recorded an album and started doing a bunch of tours. We went on back to back tours with Phantogram and Foster the People. Grouplove was shortly after that. In 2011 and 2012, we probably played 150 shows a year. We got great exposure touring with Foster the People when “Pumped up Kicks” was a huge hit. At the beginning of the tour, the venues we were playing at and they were all 500 or 700 person venues, but all of those shows sold out quickly, so they changed everything to 1,000- to 2,500person venues. It was insane — it gave us a lot of insight into what it’s like to be a band operating at that level. For example, from a career strategy perspective, they issued a commercial radio mode of promoting their band and their albums. There were things about this that made sense, and there were things that I disagreed with. How did you end up touring with bands like Foster the People in the first place? RE: I was living with my friends in Athens, Georgia. It’s a really small town, full of people with a lot disproportionate amount of success. It honestly just took reaching out to different folks in town who thought that we were doing something cool. Eventually, we met our agent. She emailed us and said, “You guys are a really good band. I want to help you become successful. Let me start booking you shows, but I won’t start you with anything until you start making x amount of dollars per show.” And we — instead of being like, “That is an incredible offer, thank you, you are a dream angel come out of heaven!” — were like, “What do you want from us? I don’t know if I can trust you.” We were 18 or 19 years old and very wary of the “band has career ruined by mean overbearing industry person” storyline. We didn’t want to be taken advantage of. Some of that stress and some of that skepticism was healthy and helped us out in the long run, but I definitely think we made a lot of decisions that
were more conservative than we needed to be when there was really nothing to lose. It’s not like we’re U2 and we have millions of dollars of contracts that are hanging in the balance here. We’re talking about her looking at a show for $200 and us being like, “I just don’t like this. Are you trying to swindle money out of us?” Do you write your own music? RE: In Reptar, Graham [Ulicny] is the songwriter. But I’m working on my own album now, in which I’ve written all the songs. It feels important to me to build up a voice that I’m a little more in control of. Pretty often, I think about how I am a white male from an Ivy League school. You can’t get a better picture of privilege than that. I feel like I have a responsibility to use that position of privilege to try to make a bigger change in the world. It can’t just be playing songs in bars; there has to be a little more than that. There’s a lot of meaning behind Reptar’s music, but it is best known for being a great, fun band to see live. In my own songs, I’m trying to establish an emotional connection with other people through music. And that is not, you know, rewriting climate policy or addressing the income inequality in the world, but it is giving people some kind of support in a time when they might need it. Can you describe your songwriting process? RE: A lot of times, I write songs when I need to do something else that I don’t want to do, like my taxes. It’s a very productive form of procrastination. Just like writing, just like exercising, the more you write songs, the easier it is to be successful at it. For every song that I actually like, there are probably two that I get halfway through, and I realize they suck. But if you don’t get those ideas out and give them a moment when you’re not critical of them, then nothing’s gonna happen. You have to give them a chance to breathe. That’s what I’ve found. Everyone writes bad stuff. You have to be bad to get good, and then even when you get good, you’re still going to write bad stuff sometimes. I also keep an acoustic guitar and a notebook next to my bed, and that way when I can’t sleep, I’m more likely to pick them up. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.
Behind the Scenes with PB and FNR COLUMN
MIRR OR //7
By Christian Cano
Dartmouth students have the privilege of enjoying frequent concerts on campus. Just check your email or read the posters posted all over campus, and chances are, there’s at least one upcoming concert. To shed some light on the process of how musical artists make it all the way to Hanover, The Dartmouth sat down with booking manager, Alek Abate ’17 and general manager, Alison Guh ’17 of Friday Night Rock and executive director Jack Kirsch ’17 of the Programming Board, two organizations that keep the on-campus, live music scene thriving. Friday Night Rock (FNR) is a student-run organization that brings small-scale concerts to campus, which are typically hosted in Sarner Underground. When asked how the process of selecting artists begins, both elaborated on the type of musician that the group looks for. “We are called Friday Night Rock, but it’s kind of a misconception that we only have rock shows,” Guh explained. “FNR’s been kind of evolving in the last four years and we really try to get as wide a range of music to get as many people interested in music on campus as possible.” Abate agrees with Guh about the diversity of genres that Friday Night Rock tries to include. “These are the types of artists that are gaining exposure, but still haven’t hit [it] ‘super big,’ so they’re still within our budget,” said Abate. The Programming Board (PB), on the other hand, is best known for the largerscale concerts that they host, such as this
past September’s House Kickoff featuring The Mowgli’s and the annual Green Key concert. However, Kirsch emphasized that the Programming Board also hosts smaller concerts, such as its Coffeehouse series. “When you’re working with artists on that [larger] scale, you’re looking at a months-long process,” said Kirsch, who listed requirements like tech planning, security and working with a middle agent as particularly time-consuming. Both Friday Night Rock and the Programming Board consider their budgets before booking an artist. Friday Night Rock usually offers between $2,000 and $3,000 for headliners, and Abate noted that they can negotiate with artists or their agencies once an artist has demonstrated interested in coming to Dartmouth. PB has a larger budget, primarily from the Student Activities Fund, but additional expenses like artists’ hotel rooms must also be factored into contracts. “There’s so much that goes underneath the artist on stage,” Kirsch said. “[For example,] security is not a small expenditure. We have to have protection for both the artists and the stage, and also for the students. And medical services on hand for up to a 5,000-person concert.” On the other hand, Abate and Guh both recounted instances in which artists stayed in students’ rooms after their performances to avoid paying pricey hotel fees. According to Abate, some artists have been known to “frat hop” after their performances, but others have to leave promptly afterward, especially
if Dartmouth is just one stop on their tour. Both organizations advertise their concerts similarly, through posters, emails and social media. In addition to the music itself, food and drinks are also provided at many performances to attract students. Even with all of the hard work that goes into keeping the shows flowing smoothly, the students involved with planning these events are also able to enjoy the performances. Of course, not every show has run perfectly. In one especially stressful instance, Guh detailed how one artist called from the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport very shortly before their concert was supposed to begin. Thankfully, quick thinking and an extra-long set played by the opening band kept the audience oblivious to the panic happening backstage. Slight hiccups can’t detract from the joy that these talented students feel from sharing the music they love with others. When asked about a personal favorite artist or band, Abate and Guh both answered !!! (pronouced as “chk chk chk”), a dance-punk band that cheered up the audience the weekend after the divisive 2016 presidential election results last term. Kirsch remembered rapper Lupe Fiasco, a childhood favorite of his, came to campus his freshman year. An especially memorable moment came just as Lupe Fiasco’s final song began when rain began pouring down, emphasizing the light show happening on stage. Abate, Guh and Kirsch have all been invested in maintaining the live music scene
at Dartmouth, since their freshman fall. For Abate, a lack of live music was a concern coming to Dartmouth since Hanover is not a metropolitan area. Joining FNR gave him the chance to not only quell his fears but also influence exactly who comes to campus. For Guh, live music was always abundant in her hometown of Los Angeles, California but she didn’t consider herself especially knowledgeable in music. After joining FNR with several people on her floor, she began to attend meetings and enjoyed the “refreshing taste of something different on campus,” she said. For Kirsch, the rewarding feeling of others having a great time because of his work makes his involvement worthwhile. He is especially proud of the Programming Board’s commitment to making events accessible to all, without the financial restraints of buying tickets. It is because of Abate, Guh, Kirsch and many others that the live music scene at Dartmouth is so lively. And since the music offerings are so varied, nearly everyone will like, if not love, at least one of the shows. All three of the students I spoke to encourage students to check out a concert, because it offers both an alternative space for hanging out and an escape from often-stressful academics and extracurricular activities. “If an event is an hour long or even less, and it’s something you’ve never done before […] take the chance, take the hour and go learn something new about yourself and maybe make a new friend,” Kirsch said.
Board games and smoke machines A night at BarHop STORY
Room One We arrive at BarHop a little after 10 p.m. and manage to avoid waiting outside. I have dragged my roommate along to check out this Dartmouth social space, and the night’s theme is “Winter Masquerade.” Accordingly, masks, feathers, sequins and glue are spread out on a side table, inviting guests to create their own costumes. The room we enter, one of three, is bathed in orange-yellow light. Bartender Whitney Martin ’17 explained the event’s layout. “The rooms increase in their level of ‘ragey-ness’ as you go along,” Martin said. “The ﬁrst room is very chill. You’re cool to sit down and chat with people. The second room has got tabletop games, sometimes some dancing and a DJ, and then the third room has strobes — lights are oﬀ — smoke machines and all that.” San Pellegrino in hand, I evaluate the scene. It certainly smells nicer than a frat basement, and it has more drink choices. It does, however, seem a bit barren. Due to the rather low ﬁre-code-mandated capacity, the venue never feels completely full. Combined, the three rooms hold 150 people at a time. Although patrons under 21 are welcome, alcoholic drink distribution is strictly regulated with colored wristbands, and the event is clearly more popular within the upperclassman crowd. Nearly everyone I see is drinking a beer. “It’s not great if you’re not 21,” Martin said. Held each Thursday from 9:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in the Hop Garage, BarHop, along with other events like Collis Center’s Microbrew Mondays and open mic nights, provides varied options for socializing on campus. BarHop’s free alcoholic beverages and club-like atmosphere are its primary attractions. Created in 2014, BarHop is student-driven — the people manning the doors and tending the bars are all Dartmouth students like Martin and fellow bartender Cady Whicker ’17. To Whicker, BarHop provides students with a unique social experience. “It’s a space that facilitates creativity — we always try to do something arts-related,” Whicker said. “It’s a good activity to do together, when you’re sitting around with your friends.” BarHop’s theme changes each week. Past BarHops have featured dance lessons, jewelry-making collaborations with the jewelry studio and various musical performances. BarHop staﬀ brainstorm new activities each week, paying attention to what works and what doesn’t. “We do keep tabs on how well-received things are,” Martin said. “If something goes really well, we try to bring it back, to cater to what people like.”
By Jaden Young
#TRENDING OCCOM POND It’s only Week Two but we’re already skating on thin ice.
Students socialize in Room One of BarHop.
Room Two In the second room, the music is wonderfully loud, and excited chatter spills from the gaggles of students clustered around tables. There’s another bar in this room. My roommate suggests we spend more time in this second room; she says the blue light makes her look good. “I have a little vanity problem,” she admits, checking herself out in the mirrors tilted against the wall. I am more than willing to play one of the board games located at each table. We are joined by a friend as we sit down to play Uno. I don’t actually know how to play Uno. I lose. Vaguely bitter about my loss, I suggest we check out the ﬁnal room. We join another line of people waiting to enter the third room. According to Martin, lines are normal. “What inevitably happens is that everyone wants to get into that third, really ragey room,” Martin said. “The line will form in the second room, and once that ﬁlls up with people, a line will form in the ﬁrst room. That’s the biggest complaint, that people can stand in line all night and not get to the actual party part.” BarHop’s capacity issues haven’t kept it from growing in popularity, according to Whicker. “Last year, when I started working there, it was more niche,” she said. “It was more seniors and people that are involved in the Hop or involved in arts. I think over the last year we’ve seen it become very much more mainstream. I’ve seen all diﬀerent groups come to BarHop and really enjoy it. We’ve seen it in the numbers, too. It’s deﬁnitely become more popular in the last year.” As we patiently wait our turn to enter the third room, others in line periodically attempt to turn the second room into a dance ﬂoor, loudly singing along to the incoming tunes
SAPHFIRE BROWN/THE /THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF
and pleading with their friends to dance with them. A bottle clanks as it hits the ﬂoor in the next room, and I wonder what lies ahead. We’re ﬁnally allowed through thin black curtains. Room Three By the time people have been allowed to enter the third room, they’ve had more than enough time to down a few beers. The crowd is clearly feeling the music. A tall guy in an open-necked rugby shirt sways uncertainly with the beat, eyes closed, beer in hand. Some people dance in groups, and others chat on the edges of the dance ﬂoor. Even this room feels empty — it’s at capacity, but the few dozen attendees cluster in the center, leaving plenty of space around them. The extra space doesn’t seem to bother the dancers, and everyone appears to be enjoying themselves. Having danced to our collective contentment, we exit, knowing our spaces in the third room will immediately be ﬁlled by grateful students waiting in the second. With its focus on combining creativity and late-night fun, BarHop has created a unique space on campus. “I can’t think of any other alternative spaces to frats that have that sort of ambiance, where you can go and drink something that’s not utter garbage, and be in a non-fratty environment if you want that sort of thing,” Martin said. “You’re never in BarHop with the sole intention to get smashed. There’s always other things to do as well.” Whicker also emphasized BarHop’s originality. “It’s something diﬀerent,” Whicker said. “It’s something that you don’t get anywhere else. You might discover something new that you didn’t know you liked before. That’s super valuable, and super cool.”
The Princeton game was the pucking best.
Put our message on the Hop screen so we know it’s real.
New Year’s resolutions plus beginning-ofterm workloads equals no cardio machines available ever.
Where did the prof put our readings? Why is that panda riding a unicycle? We may never know.
HOT WATER SHORTAGES
At least we know the radiator works, since it’s been clanking for an hour.