As expected, the Thursday before break seemed as if it would drag on forever. Thursday is never my favorite day of the week. It’s the day before Friday, the last real day, in my opinion, and as I go throughout Thursday, it seems as if my body freezes in the time of the day, as the clock continues to tick on in an impermissible slowness.
This is why, on Thursday, February 13th, the VCS Student Showcase in the Benjamin Mays Center was a good idea. Free pizza, cookies, and chai on little cocktail tables spread throughout the room made me feel like I was in some alternate Thursday universe. Inside that echoey dome room was a pocket of relief from midterm week, and as I settled in I kicked myself for not going to VCS more often to lighten my Thursday blues.
Astonishingly, I was content before anyone even started to sing. When there was singing, however, I was immediately amazed by the amount of talent contained in the faces of people I see every day. My peers were performing, when before, all I had known them as just people before me in the omelet line.
To start the night off, Tom Hennessey ‘21 and Anaïs Ranque ‘21 provided the audience with a guitar and singing duo. Starting with the Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know”, slowing it down with John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”, and ending with Gary Clark Jr’s “When the Sun Goes Down”, the two were a soulful couple, and it was fun to watch them slowly become more comfortable in front of their peers. Hennessey ‘21 states, “I’m really grateful for the opportunity Bates provides us with to share the music we love, and it’s great that so many people pack themselves into the Benjamin Mays Center each time to support their fellow students.” The two warmed the students up with such positivity, and by the end I was at the edge of my seat.
Following this act was Kautia Ryan ‘23 at the mic and Olivia Cuneo ‘23 at the keyboard, covering “Stay” by Rhianna and Mikky Ekko. To lighten the mood they went immediately into “ROXANNE” by Arizona Zervas, stopping abruptly because “they accidentally started the wrong song.” Ryan ‘23 remarked that they were singing “ROXANNE’’ at a wedding next weekend, gaining a few chuckles from the audience. When they settled into “Stay”, the whole audience was encapsulated into them. Cueno’s ‘23 voice was strong and deep, as if it was built up in the center of her chest. When Ryan ‘23 joined in, her sweet voice shook her when she sang, and we all sang with her, if not physically than in some type of shared–alternate–space.
Next came Grace Biddle 23’ with spoken word poetry. Before the show, I sat next to her and her roommate Joanna Cloutier ’23, where Biddle told me, “I’m the only person not doing any music, so I’m a little bit nervous.” Regardless of her anxiety, she read the poem off in clarity, bringing a “face to the issues that are out there today.” Overall, she spoke towards the ignorance of people who fail to put themselves in the shoes of those who suffer on the outskirts. To no surprise, the impact of her words showed in the applause when she finished.
Bryce O’Brien ‘20 was afterwards, with an amazing smooth and raspy country voice paired with captivating stage presence. Seated on a stool at the mic, he strummed his guitar and sang Bob Dillon’s “I Was Young When I Left Home” wearing crocs and mismatched socks–one of which seeming to feature a sasquatch. When he called out Andrew Collins ‘20 to play guitar alongside him, the two brought an electric energy to the stage as they were completely lost in the music.
Colins ‘23, who performs with the Crosstones, could strum to the guitar like no other. His fingers danced, all the while he wore a “Bates Mom” hat, which he made sure to let us know that “if anyone lost it…this is yours.” These two seniors were my favorite to watch, simply because of the fun they had on stage, as if the crowd, to them, was nonexistent.
Robin Moss ‘20 then came up and sang an original song with an Indie style and a sultry voice. Alongside her voice were her friends, who provided almost as much entertainment by shouting from the crowd, “Robin take your top off!” as she giggled and replied, “Only if you ask nicely.” With original lyrics like “Maybe if you drink you can learn how to flirt” and “maybe after college I will hit my stride” her song “What’s Good” casted a spell on the crowd. Ending her set with “Strawberry Fields Forever” by the BeachBoys, we “enjoyed at our own freewill” just like she asked us.
To end the night, the band Sent Straight to Voicemail came on to sing a few songs we knew, asking us to sing along with them. The full band, complete with a saxophone and a violin, gave us a pure amount of dad energy…and I really loved it. Sending us off into the night with warmth in our heart and the Shrek Soundtrack in our heads, they truly ended with a “Hallelujah,” and I decided that if my Thursday ever drags on, I’ll look forward to 9pm at the Benjamin Mays Center.