Music has this funny way of bringing people together. Music has held an integral part in the story of my life thus far. My father inspired my musical palette at a very young age, and I’ve been deeply, deeply in love ever since. To give you a bit of an idea of just how deep that love runs, I’ll provide a quick anecdote. When I was in fifth grade, I dressed up as Duff McKagen, the bassist for the band Guns ‘n’ Roses, for Halloween. Coincidentally, this Halloween happened to be the first time I was invited to a co-ed ‘party’. With this being said, my unbridled enthusiasm about spending a night as a rock star could not, in any way, be curbed by fear of embarrassment or worry of ‘fitting in’. My costume was pretty involved, to say the very least. So, when I proudly strolled into my first co-ed party, donning a leather jacket, fake tattoos, eye makeup, and a big ol’ blond whig, I was met with a few skewed looks and several stifled giggles. I’ll never forget the confused expressions as I attempted to describe exactly who I was supposed to be and what the heck “Guns ‘n’ Roses” meant. In retrospect, I was probably one of the few 10-year-olds on the planet that knew who Guns ‘n’ Roses were, let alone to dress up as their bassist for Halloween. Over a decade later, my musical fervor has yet to subside.
UCD has a rich network of student societies and clubs that give any student, regardless of where he or she is from, the opportunity to get involved and to make a few new friends. They offer everything from a leather jacket society to a wind surfing club; the variety is enough to coax even the most intensely introverted into participating. As you may have guessed, I joined every music-oriented club and society that I could. And a few days ago, the Music Society and the Jazz Club, both of which I participate in, hosted an ‘open mic night’ at the student bar.
I don’t normally jump at the chance to sing in front of a large group of strangers, but I figured that if there was ever a time to go for it, it would be while I’m here in a foreign country. So, I grabbed my guitar and made for The Clubhouse (the student bar). As it turns out, when I got to the event, I ran into a friend from Jazz Club that has an absolutely beautiful singing voice. She was more than happy to perform with me, and I was humbled that she was willing to go up there with me and wing it. I was also secretly relieved to get off the hook in terms of singing. We threw together an impromptu set in the hallway and then got behind the mics and gave it our best shot. The audience was extremely gracious, and the entire event turned out to be a huge success. It was quite a rewarding experience.
Afterwards, the friend that I performed with and I joined a few other friends in the hallway to continue playing music and enjoying each other’s company. We played, sang, and laughed until they told us that they were locking the doors. I struggle to find the right words to articulate the feeling that I felt as I walked back to my dorm that night. It felt a lot like that invigorating breath that consumes you as you explode out of the the crisp, cold ocean after your first plunge on a hot day in the early summer, before the water warms. Your entire body thanks you for the wake up call, and you forget what it was that was bothering you before. It’s good to feel alive.
“I have learned that to be with those that I like is enough.” (Quote from Walt Whitman)