I've been trying to get a friend of mine to pick up her violin and play some duets with me. She's very reluctant and very concerned that her playing isn't good enough. I think this is a common sentiment among many talented amateur musicians, which makes me think that what Dartmouth needs more of is spaces for modest talent to play a little and get comfortable with a friendly audience.
Being at Dartmouth, I know we have a lot of talent here, but not much in the way of a forum for new blood. We have the Lone Pine Tavern, which has been pretty successful in bringing out the College's music acts. But what about some talent fests where we see the new blood vying for a place at Dartmouth? I've played in the Chamber Orchestra, and it's amazing how many part time amateur musicians are out there who want to play in a group. The desire to perform is there, I can smell it in the spring air of Dartmouth.
Perhaps people don't know how easy it is to get together and form a group, like a quartet, a juggling quintet or a kazoo band. All you need is your own blitz account, some publicity and enough talent to get hired. I'll be quite honest with you -- if I as the Area Coordinator of Hitchcock received word that a kazoo band wanted to play in our building, they would be hired in no time.
What about comedy? We have endless amounts of a capella, we're getting pretty decent dance coverage, but what about step? What about juggling, hula-hooping, fire-swallowing acts? I know there are people out there that can glamour us with their yo-yo tricks and highwire acts. I saw a young man balancing on a chain by Mass Row's walkway. I've seen people juggling on the Green and I know there's a yo-yo club. The talent's out there.
I think one of the big reasons we don't see more of it on display is the lack of venues to showcase it. We have a capella and dance shows. We also have a good trend with poetry readings and speakouts. However, where are the comedy clubs? Where is the circus of talent on the Green? We just don't have anything, so we have to be satisfied by spying people on the Green or at one step-show-extravaganza in the spring.
Hitchcock has coffee houses with amateur musicians from our cluster to promote shy talent, talent that doesn't get to Lone Pine, but loves to play anyway. ORL is putting on a Talent Show for charity where we can discover who's out there. So I call on you, bring it up! Let's see what you can do. Come on, one of you must have put that fiddle on your college application. I want to hear it. Come and play some drums so we can dance along.
I also call on the programmers -- let's do more so that we can have more of our talents highlighted at Dartmouth. We have the chance to impress each other, so why not take it? We need more casual venues as well, for the quieter folk who want to start out in a comfortable atmosphere. It's not hard to organize local events in a fraternity, sorority or cluster just to see what talent is in your own space. These can be small, internally publicized events to get to know where people are starting from, maybe share tips on playing or poetry writing, whatever it is that you are doing.
It's not hard for us to take time out to appreciate the people we have around us so I urge you to take it. Please support these events and bring your own talents to the table. It makes us feel human to see what our peers love to do.