As the sun’s rays peeked through the gaps between the skyscrapers of Boston, grazed the pediment of Quincy Market, and were cast down into the small courtyard flanked by Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, students and casual viewers alike stirred in the refreshing warmth.
Many of Boston College’s Music Guild members huddled together to stay warm, though several were already clad in heavy jackets. Some were fortunate enough to perform during one of the sun’s brief appearances, but many were forced to shiver throughout the majority of their 20-minute sets. One artist, however, didn’t seem to be phased by the cold. Instead, she readily fought it off with her irresistible smile and infectiously cheery demeanor. Tabitha Joseph, CSOM ’17, lead singer of Tabitha Joseph + the Halos, was basking in the sights, sounds, and friends that surrounded her.
Alongside bandmates Kyrie Olsen, MCAS ’17, Jacquelyn Andalcio, LSOE ’17, and Gbidee Roberts, CSOM ’17, Joseph has formed one of the Music Guild’s two all-female bands, although Olsen is currently studying abroad. Despite this, Tabitha Joseph + the Halos is still trying to shape and picture its future as a band. The group, as a whole, is trying to decide what it wants the band to be. Once Olsen returns next semester, the group will be able to tackle these types of questions more thoroughly.
Thus far, Tabitha Joseph + the Halos has been heavily focused on its harmonies, opting for a laid-back, introspective tone, and acoustic sound. While Joseph sings lead vocals for the group, Olsen plays the guitar and sometimes the piano, Andalcio can be found on the cajon, and Roberts rounds out the group providing lead vocals. The band formed last year, when Joseph simply asked a few of her friends, who had met each other in Voices of Imani and various classes, if they would join her to compete in Battle of the Bands.
“For Battle of the Bands we performed a song that I wrote and we just had a great time with it,” Joseph said. “It’s nice to have people that are willing to uplift your music or get your message out there. [Olsen] will hear something different than I do, and she contributes her thinking. Friends like that can make your music better.”
With Olsen’s absence, the Halos aren’t performing as often. But, this hasn’t hindered the remaining members from working with Joseph on pieces she is developing. Joseph, Andalcio, and Roberts, who are all close friends, work off of each other’s energy and tastes to continue building the group’s writing process and style.
“We often spend time making beats and remixing nursery rhymes, pop tunes, or just some random phrases,” Andalcio said. “You can feed off [Joseph’s] energy, and she encourages [us] to try songs, sing notes and combinations that [we] only sing if [she] pushed to do so.”
Aside from leading the Halos, Joseph was the volunteer organizer for this year’s Music Guild and put together trips with fellow musicians to perform and work with children from the Franciscan Hospital for Children. Every other week, Joseph and about 10 Music Guild volunteers go out to Brighton to work with kids from the hospital’s psych ward, performing for them and showing them what they can make of their music interests if they pursue them.
While Joseph enjoys the covers that she and the Halos perform at open-mic nights and various Music Guild events, she has also worked on her own songs, often compiling bits of songs that she thinks up in a jam-packed notebook. Though a lot of her notes are nowhere near a complete song, and it can be difficult to find the drive to finish a lot of them, Joseph said that she has around 20 songs in development and that there are five or six that have been fully crafted. While many Music Guild artists like to write about their own experiences at BC, Joseph has focused on more unique, impersonal topics. Instead, she likes to take stories from her friends and craft a lyrical narrative around them. When Joseph does write about stories and themes that are closer to her, she likes to discuss her family.
For Joseph, singing and writing are very personal endeavors. She thinks that forming Tabitha Joseph + the Halos has brought her and her friends closer than she imagined it could, and has showed her the different tastes and styles each of them brings to the table. While Joseph herself is interested in pop and punk, she notes that Olsen is more intrigued by folk, and that the two sounds can meld together in beautiful ways. Unifying sounds and genres has shown Joseph the power that music have over her personally and over her friendships.
“There’s a sense of home there,” Joseph said. “For me, music is the way that I connect to God. It’s my gift from God to be able to praise God through music. I feel connected to God and everyone around me when I sing.”
Music touches listeners in distinct ways, depending on what’s being played and who is listening. But as far as Tabitha Joseph is concerned, all music is a way to connect with those around her—to see what other people are feeling and what they see in the world around them.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor