Changing Tune at the Barn

After attending a delightful onStage performance by the orchestra A Far Cry featuring Simone Dinnerstein on piano at Palmer Auditorium, I headed over to the Barn for my second campus concert of the evening. Having arrived late, my friends and I stood on the growing line in the cold, desperately waiting for the students guarding the entrance to announce there was room for “three” rather just the lonely “one.” After forty minutes during which our entourage dwindled, my friend and I entered the surprisingly small room where at front the band JBQ was sending out waves of smooth jazz.

As a first-year, this was my first time attending a performance at the Barn. Upon entering, we walked down a skinny hallway that divided a small room with extra equipment, cords, and chairs and a larger room where the band was playing. Graffiti, some more bolder in message than others,  covered the walls. However, what caught my eye was a pair of light wash jeans pinned to the wall—perhaps this could be a whole story within itself. In addition to the colorful artwork, the multicolored stringed lights added to the mellow, yet social atmosphere instilled within the Barn. Playing on the back wall was a repeating animation of what I can only describe as either an exploding star or a close-up selfie of the sun; regardless, it was amazing. Beal explained that this projection was the band’s own design, and they developed it so that it was “responsive to the sound in the space.” Due to this attribute, Beal said that they had a sense of how “the projections would behave,” but they “did not have any power over exactly how it expressed itself.” Throughout the night, these changing patterns roamed across the walls, adding to the creative and warm ambiance. Lauren Cress, a first year at Conn, said that “the aesthetics of [the Barn] were relaxing and not too wild, which was great for [this] event.” The bohemian environment meshed extremely well with the jazz.

Swaying to the music, I felt my body begin to warm up—probably because there was at least a twenty degree difference from the outside to inside the Barn—and relax. The long wait was definitely worth it. Although I missed the opening act by Free Beer, a band which had taken on the temporary moniker “Free Wine” to match the evening’s classy vibe, I was more than satisfied listening JBQ’s set. JBQ has four members: Asa Peters on sax, Josh Hausman on drums, Taylor Copeland on guitar, and Jack Beal on bass. In order they played “Autumn Leaves,” “Mr. P.C.,” “Sea Journey,” and “The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers.” I’m more of an old rock ‘n’ roll or alternative music type of girl, but Saturday night opened my eyes to the world of jazz. Similarly, Cress aid that she is not “usually one for voluntarily seeing a jazz show, but the music was calming and lifted [her] spirits.” In particular, I was impressed by the amazing talent of Peters, who plays the sax. Each band member played off of each other’s instruments in perfect harmony. With each varying piece, the audience began to find their own dance style, but no matter how each person was moving, we we were all united by the music. The forty-five minutes flew by and I was sad when the bright lights came to reveal reality. I felt as if I had left campus for a brief moment in time and was at a concert in a city, not inside a former squash court. This is one of the many powers of music: it transports you to an alternative place where stress and worry cease to exist, only to deposit you back to reality with a refreshed state of mind.

It was a rather musical weekend at Conn. From classical to jazz, students opened their ears to various sounds. By going to both performances, I felt an even greater appreciation for music. I was able to listen to an orchestra play classical pieces, but also witness a band play a totally different form of music with the same concentration and complexity as the orchestra members. I am inclined to say that I enjoyed the Barn concert more than A Far Cry—mostly because I was able to dance to the music at the Barn—but regardless of genre, both performances exemplified the transformative power of music to anyone willing to listen.