Students & The Arts
Student Body Displays Talent
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The amount of musical talent on campus often goes unrecognized. For the most part, only the a cappella singing groups have a large presence on campus. Students often forget about the singer-songwriters and bands on campus, because we are not a university known for our music department. Still, there is a lot of talent on campus, and students had a chance to watch a number of singers and bands at BC’s Best, the annual singer-songwriter competition and band showcase at Arts Fest.
The first hour of the show featured four very talented singers. Robbie Vogel was the first to perform, singing a song about one of his best friends from home. Anna Paskausky also performed, playing two songs. The first song, “Ph.D.,” was a very quirky and entertaining tune about the struggles she has gone through while going for her Ph.D. in physics.
Another singer, Kelly McCarthy, A&S ’12, interacted with the crowd the most, even explaining that the noticeable bruise on her arm was a “hickey from a horse.” Her second song, “What Dreams are Made Of,” dealt with her future hopes in love. When asked about the songwriting process, McCarthy remarks that “some of my best songs have been written in the span of an hour. Usually, those songs are very based in reality and the ideas just flow naturally. I’m inspired by my relationships, experiences, and hopes.”
In terms of connecting with other singer-songwriters on campus, McCarthy notes that, “The open mic nights in the Chocolate Bar are great for meeting other musicians and getting to try out material.” There are open mic nights every Thursday night at the Chocolate Bar, which offer students a chance to check out their musical peers on campus.
Evan James was the eventual winner in the singer-songwriter competition. Singing, “Even blood has to dry,” his various vocal tones and provocative lyrics garnered more than a few passionate reactions from the females in the audience. James’ victory comes with the opportunity to be the opening act at this year’s Modstock.
The highlight of the night was a four-song set from The Novel Ideas. The band, who actually has quite a bit of music on iTunes, had a distinct and pleasant indie folk sound—a cross between Mumford & Sons and The Civil Wars. Made up of Sarah (vocals), David (guitar/pedal steel/vocals), Daniel (guitar/vocals), James (bass/vocals), and Will (drums), the band seemed to sync really well together—which helped the band look comfortable on stage. Although shy at the beginning of their set, The Novel Ideas interacted with the crowd more and more as their performance went on. David, in particular, kept things entertaining by spewing multiple marine biology facts. Most importantly, the music was truly beautiful. Daniel’s vocals on “Heart of Stone” were particularly striking. His harmonies with Sarah and David were also lovely.
Daniel and James are both members of the Class of 2012. When speaking to Daniel about the state of the music scene at BC, he spoke to how much it has grown in the years that he has been here, saying specifically, “The Music Guild is doing some really neat things. It is limited in some ways, but regardless of what is available on campus, there will always be people making really neat music.” One of the ways that student musicians have been able to reach out to the BC community has been through Chorduroy: The Boston College Music Compilation. The compilation is currently streaming on Spotify. It features songs from 18 different BC musicians and is definitely worth checking out.
While onstage, The Novel Ideas also took the time to plug their new album, Home, which is available on the band’s website. The album features all of the songs the band performed at Arts Fest, including “The Blue Between” and “Heart of Stone.” When asked about the songwriting and recording process, Daniel replied that he wrote a lot of music while abroad and that the band “decided to go up to [a barn in New Hampshire] with a bunch of gear and just see what would happen. We ended up going back weekend after weekend to add more and more, so what started out as a small scale folk project ended up becoming a complete album.”
Overall, BC’s Best was a great way to discover new artists and bands that are on campus. Each and every performer was talented and passionate about their performances, which contributed to the success of the event.