By Hannah Warren
The sounds of amateur rapping, punk fiddle, accordion riffs and jazzy clarinet filled the atmosphere of the Coughy Haus basement this past Saturday night when Beloit College students from a range of a social groups with a variety of musical tastes crowded in to watch and participate in the second Song-a-Thon of the year.
The event was organized by Spencer Bible ’12 and Music Club after the success of the first Song-a-Thon last semester. Bible sees Song-a-Thon as a great way to inspire creative action within the student body, and the high number of participants and the engaged audience confirmed this. This Song-a-Thon featured 12 bands with almost 60 participants. The bands played an array of instruments and genres.
The goal of the event was to have as many students sign up as possible, disregarding skill levels, preferred instruments and social spheres. The participants were then placed into groups by drawing names out of a hat. Think musical blind date. Participants were given approximately 72 hours to compose a song with their randomly assigned band mates, which they then performed at C-Haus. This event provided a unique opportunity for anyone to create music and meet new people with whom they might never spend time with otherwise. Bible explains, “Ideally the event will draw out people who want to make music who may not have the means, confidence or motivation to do it themselves. Also, it exposes individuals to new people and different styles and breaks down any lack of confidence that would inhibit someone from writing and performing their own work start to finish.”
Participants ranged from having years of musical experience to being self-proclaimed tone deaf. The result was often an eclectic blend of musical styles with traces of each member’s personality present. Each band played one song apiece, keeping the audience engaged and entertained.
Every group that took the stage had a unique and creative approach to the challenge. One highlight was the band composed of Della Green ’14 singing, Geneva Schulz-Welo ’13 playing violin and Henry Werrell ’14 playing guitar. They performed a country-esque piece with beautiful vocals, inspiring even the drunkest bros to peacefully sway.
The band Starface Enterprise and the F*ck Yous performed later in the night, featuring drummer Chris Bunkers ’14 and guitarist Jack Katze ’11 who set the beat for the eloquent and insightful rap stylings of Paul Remington ’13 accompanied by the canary-like vocals of Malcolm Yates ’13. The collective donned dresses while hype-man Ben Siebert ’12 roused the crowd before falling over an amp in an act of solidarity.
Leo Brochu ’13 and Galen Michel ’12 challenged the audience with an original noise composition that was simultaneously described by onlookers as “inventive” and “the soundtrack to Hell, in the best way possible.”
The Generals featured Clara Baker ’13 on the fiddle, Gus Voorhees ’12 on the accordion, Duncan Gillis ’14 drumming and Patrick Firme ‘13 singing. Baker describes their sound as “an Irish punk rant” and revealed that it took the ensemble less than an hour to write their song, drawing inspiration from the Phi Psi basement.
The final group to go on stage, Ari Weil ’11, Harry Kuttner ’14, Nicholas Stephens ’12 and Sean Keith ’10, wowed the crowd with an ambient dramatic reading that included beatboxing, drums, guitar and spoken word.
While these are only some of the groups that performed during Song-a-Thon, they exemplify the range of instruments and styles heard Saturday night. The success of the event hopefully marks the beginning of a Song-a-Thon tradition at Beloit; a biannual excuse to make and enjoy music with peers.