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The Dartmouth
May 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Sophomore summer provides the perfect opportunity to make some music

Michelle Mulé ’25 and Arizbeth Rojas ’25 explore the surge of new or altered bands that have taken over the live music scene on campus this summer.

Courtesy of Carson Miller '25

Courtesy of Carson Miller '25 

When summer term rolls around, there may be fewer students on campus, but that does not mean it’s any quieter than before  —  especially when the sounds of student bands spill out onto a moonlit Webster Avenue. Within the first few weeks of the term, some students have already formed new bands that span a variety of genres, while previously established bands continue to practice and play on campus. 

Blue Moose, a new campus band, formed after Elliot Alberts ’25 began reaching out to friends who played instruments. According to Blue Moose guitarist Carson Miller ’25, a few of the band’s members are affiliated in the same Greek organization, Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity, and others are friends-of-friends. Connor Schafer ’25, the founder and drummer of a new band called Phytoplankton, also said that he was friends with some of his band’s members before the group formed, while other members were unacquainted before the band’s first practice. 

This summer has shown that bands have the potential to bring together nearly perfect strangers through a common interest in creating music. Schafer said that Phytoplankton formed in part from response to fliers that he had posted around campus. Many responses to the flier resulted in applicants ultimately joining the band, although a greater number of students reached out to provide vocals for the band than necessary. 

“I’ve been able to find enough people to actually make a band — I was impressed as to how quickly [the process of finding new members] went,” Schafer said. “We’ve already had one practice.” 

Though Phytoplankton began as a summer band, Schafer said he expects that the band will continue playing shows after the term ends. Lily Arrom ’25, the vocalist for the band, said she is also open to continuing playing if her schedule allows it. Arrom said she joined the band after seeing a poster in Collis with Schafer’s name on it because they met on first year trips. 

“Part of what finally made me try it is that I saw that my friend was leading it, so I felt relatively comfortable trying something I wasn’t used to,” Arrom said. 

Schafer said that an initial goal of the band was to play popular songs that wider audiences are likely to sing along to. In the future, Schafer says he would like to work on cultivating a distinct vibe for the band. The group, however, has not yet started the process of booking shows. 

“I think it’s exciting, and it’s fun. Everyone’s musical,” Schafer said. “They know what they’re doing. And it’s exciting to bring a bunch of new people together.”

Some bands formed before the summer are hitting their stride this term. 

According to Rishav Chakravarty ’25, the bassist of the band Bellboy Elroy, its members are extremely comfortable performing together on stage. Bellboy Elroy formed in the spring of 2022 and have spent the past year performing together — having even competed in the 2023 Battle of the Bands. 

“I feel like now that we are a more established band, we’re starting to take less time to practice for shows,” Chakravarty said. “Whereas we needed three or four weeks to prepare for a show in our first term, we are now able to prepare a show in like a week.”

The summer also provides a shortened timeline between band practices and performances in front of audiences. According to Miller, Blue Moose rehearsed a total of three times as a complete band before their first performance, which took place on June 30 at Alpha Chi. Miller explained that Greek houses’ interest in booking Blue Moose for parties has increased after their first show. So far, the band is scheduled to play at a fraternity and the Dartmouth Outing Club’s Ledyard clubhouse, but Miller said he expects that the venue choices will continue to increase. 

The summer means there are less student bands present on campus, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier for bands to put together a gig. 

“I think the most important thing for getting shows is knowing people, like [social chairs], who can get you a show,” Chakravarty said. 

Even with new bands on campus, Chakravarty said that the summer “band scene” is still similar to what it is like during other terms. The summer term provides a great opportunity for both groups to explore playing or singing in a group setting. 

Correction Appended (July 21, 10:17 a.m.): A previous version of this article inaccurately stated where Blue Moose has scheduled shows. The article has been updated.