By Sophia Castro-Astor
A student performing in the Quad. Photo by Roy Kent.
As the college’s COVID-19 guidelines continue to restrict indoor gatherings, impromptu concerts on the Quad and other outdoor spots have made the open spaces on campus the go-to hangout spots for music.
Put on by whoever decides to join in, these concerts continue to attract students with vibrant sounds and a convenient location, such as the grove outside Outback. But they offer more than just music. They offer an opportunity for those who have yet to experience campus life opportunities to make new friends.
David Langen, a freshman studio composition major, loves having a new opportunity to play. “The crowd is great,” he said. “Most crowds are fun to play to, but it’s especially fun to play to a bunch of college kids.”
Throughout the night, many flow to and from these concerts. Attendance averages at around 30 people at a time, according to Langen, who has participated in one of these concerts before. As they take in music and watch performers express themselves through improvised solos and impassioned dance moves, attendees introduce themselves and bond with one other.
Bernie Manzolillo, a freshman theater and production major, said he feels that when students are “not all at the Quad watching concerts, they’re just in little groups around campus.” In his case, Quad concerts have proven beneficial for his social life. He’s started recognizing faces and has gotten offers to hang out with others from these concerts.
Louisa Zerbo, a freshman literature major, met her good friend Rin at one of these concerts earlier in the semester. “She complimented my jacket,” she recalled. They’ve been hanging out since.
Outdoor experiences like these used to be almost nonexistent, according to Nicky Douglas, a senior media studies major. His freshman year experience in 2018 was quite different from that of this year’s freshmen. Back then, most concerts and gatherings took place in dorms, the music building, or the Stood, which is currently planning its reopening. The Stood allowed students to practice in the Dino Room (the Stood’s rehearsal space) and play live at either Whitson’s or on the Main Stage. Their last live concert took place March 7, 2020.
Despite the different circumstances, students seem to appreciate these concerts just as much. Elior Jamil, an undeclared freshman, expressed her intentions to continue attending these outdoor shows when things return to normal.
“Even when things open up again, I would love to stop by a couple nights a week,” she said. “It’s a really nice environment.”