Graduation came and went, and more than any other time in my life, it really made me step back and look at everything that Wesleyan has given me. Ignoring the best friends I’ve ever had, and beyond an incredible education, Wesleyan gave me a real homegrown music scene.
It’s no secret to anyone who might know me that I have always cared deeply about the musical happenings at Wesleyan. From my time as a pre-frosh visiting for the Jens Lekman show to the last show I ever booked, the music here has been a central component of my time here. And if you’re reading this, I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that the same is true (at least to some degree) for you, too.
As I look out into the “real world” and think about what I’m going to miss the most, it is this part of campus. The most memorable nights of my whole life have been at our concerts, and more importantly, concerts that happened in the last academic year. This is no accident.
This past year, I have had the incredible privilege of serving as your Concert Committee chair. More so than any other year that I’m aware of, people were active, engaged, and excited about the shows coming to campus. More so than any other year, people were regularly attending shows, regardless of the price. And more so than any other year, more people who have never booked a show before are getting involved and planning shows of their own. Nothing could have made me happier than this–it means that you all care, and are willing to try to make this happen for yourselves.
I love music at Wesleyan, in all its forms and shapes. From some jam band out of BuHo to Cloud Nothings and Future Islands, music at Wesleyan is and always will be a very importance piece of what keeps the culture of the school alive. It is a direct reflection of the student body, provides endless entertainment for any number of occasions, and, when our bands get famous, gives admissions another line in the school’s brochure. For these reasons, I would hate nothing more than to see it decay into irrelevance.
A lot of my efforts this year as the chair were directed toward increasing awareness for what we do, increasing accessibility of information, and doing my best to make sure that the widest possible portion of the student body had access to the necessary resources required for planning their own events. However, what I beg of all of you who actually take the time to read this rant is this: do not take any of this for granted.
Wesleyan’s music scene is only as strong as the people who shape it. From the proposals to the execution of the event, it is absolutely imperative that you keep this dictum in mind. It translates beyond this, too–if you see something you don’t like, you cannot expect someone else to change it for you. It is on you and you alone to make the world around you what you want it to be. From booking your favorite band to landing your dream job, this is the best advice that I think I have ever received, let alone relayed to an anonymous horde: Get off your ass and make something happen.
Next year’s Concert Committee is a group of some of the most dedicated, intelligent, enthusiastic and capable people on this campus. It is no coincidence that they are also some of the most involved and active people on campus, too. However, contrary to popular belief, the music scene is not in their hands. It’s in yours. If you don’t like what’s going on, plan your own shows. Anywhere. At any time.
This year, as much as I would like to think it was a massive success, has a ton of room for improvement. There are places on campus other than Eclectic. Plan shows there. Go to shows there. The Café, Earth House, BuHo have all hosted some amazing shows in my time here, and can always do it again. Diversify. Experiment. Anything to challenge the status quo and shake things up. There are plenty of spaces, plenty of bands, and not a lot of time left for any of you. Please don’t let this time pass you by without taking advantage of every opportunity.
As I say my final goodbyes to the school, the people in it, and the social and professional infrastructure that made me the person I am, all I ask of you is to keep the same intensity and passion for a vibrant and diverse musical culture alive. Like I said, this past year, there were more shows planned by more people than any year before. These numbers can get higher, and it can get better. All you have to do is try and make it happen.
So, in conclusion, thank you to everyone who has ever booked their favorite band. Thanks to everyone who ever started one. Thanks to everyone who came to the shows. Thanks to everyone who played them. Thanks to each and every person in Sound Co-Op, SALD, Concert Committee, and in all the spaces that approved the shows this year.
I’m going to miss this place more than my $200,000 vocabulary will ever allow me to express. Thanks to everyone who helped make these last four years the best of my entire life.
-Sky Stallbaumer, 2012.