The main space of Drama House served as yet another makeshift performance venue at the Music Interest Floor’s end-of-semester concert last Friday, where the music was cool and the comradery cozy.
I note this sense of comradery because it permeated through the entire evening. Each performing group gave me the sense that the band members were, more than anything, having fun.
The ability to convince your audience that you are having fun (regardless of whether you really are) is a crucial element of performance, and it is not discussed enough. If you don’t believe me, think back to the last Kenan Thompson sketch you watched on SNL.
Unless you have no soul, you probably laughed. But why did you laugh? Eight times out of 10, his lines aren’t really that great. So what’s so funny? It’s his face and his constant smile. His clear enjoyment (even if that is itself a constructed performance) of the sketch makes it funny for the viewer.
It’s the same reason that in those old movie musicals with Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, they dance exhaustively and relentlessly but always maintain a massive grin. (I’ve heard that was also a breathing technique, but you get my point.)
Similarly, the musicians who performed on Friday seemed so genuinely joyous and enthusiastic that it became contagious, regardless of whether you like jazz.
This isn’t to say that the music wasn’t good on its own. Fans of jazz should be sure not to miss MIF’s next concert. The first band, called Root Seven, featured sophomores Sam Schachter on the saxophone, Ethan Weinstein on the trombone, Harrison Clement on the trumpet, Aaron Levy on the drums, Spencer Leonardi on the guitar, and freshmen Alexa Silverman on the piano and Tessa Nojaim on the bass.
Most of the songs played by Root Seven were original. The bar-setting opening song, an energetic yet smooth number written by Silverman, gave each player a chance to aptly show off and musically introduce themselves.
The second group, called Hip Conspiracy, featured senior Sean Levin and alumnus Miles Meth on the saxophone (I want to make a point here of saying that all musicians should have alliterative names), and juniors Luke Okerlund on guitar, Thomas Mariano on keyboard, Josh Miller on bass, and Mike Abbott on drums.
Hip Conspiracy opened with a seasonally appropriate hypnotic performance of “Carol of the Bells.” A later song was more mellow than the upbeat funk of the others and was an unexpectedly emotionally cathartic addition.
The final group, called Juicy Connotation, featured seniors Thomas Andolsek on tenor sax, Ryan Hecht on guitar, Jordan Rabinowitz on bass, and Chris Palace on drums, as well as junior Alex Fortier on keyboard.
Juicy Connotation’s songs fluctuated from mellow to intensely energetic. I’m not sure if I can really describe it, but there was an epic quality to these songs, making the five-member band seem like an orchestra.
Speaking of which, my favorite thing about this concert is also my favorite thing about listening to orchestral music in general. I could lose myself in it.
When each band first started, I would pay attention and watch the musicians, but eventually begin to space out and let my mind would wander. I would stare at the shadows of the players on the wall or the flickering air bubble in the bass drum and my brain would go wherever it wanted.
The music became a soundtrack to imagination.