Last Friday, The University held one of the best events I’ve been too all year: Relay for Life! Incase you’re not familiar, Relay for Life is an overnight cancer benefit that most schools and towns participate in. Men and Women for Octaves, along with many other Scranton clubs/sports, had a team. It was really incredible to see so many students come together to support a great cause. Relay for Life was pretty popular in high school, but I wasn’t sure if it would be as popular in college. The event was held in the Byron Center, started at around 7PM and lasted until around 7AM the next morning. And though that is a long time, the night was filled with a number of activities: races, games, Quizzo, and even Zumba! (I must admit my director Jimmy and I were mostly excited for Zumba!)
Two high school friends and I at Relay
Each team there also had some sort of fundraiser. Some students created games, gave henna tattoos, sold food etc. However, Octaves was a little more creative. Our fundraiser there was having anyone donate two dollars and in return, we’d sing any song of their choice on the spot! We had quite a few people requests songs, one girl even wanted to sing for her boyfriend! But whether we were getting donations or not, the singing never stopped. I think it’s safe to say it is near impossible to hang out with an a cappella group and not be singing something. Our beatboxer Jim also brought along his guitar for the night so we all had a blast jamming with him.
Octaves in the Byron Center
But in between all the fun and games there were some incredibly heartfelt moments. Royal Harmony and Octaves both sang during the Luminaria Ceremony. The ceremony consists of two laps around the gym, the survivor lap and the remembrance lap. Octaves thought our best song to sing during the remembrance lap was without a doubt A Sky Full of Stars. Words cannot even begin to describe how beautiful that moment was. Knowing how cancer has affected almost everyone in that room really put the group in another world when we started singing. It’s times like this that remind how powerful and how emotional music can truly be. Performing at Relay for Life has made me even MORE excited for our concert on Sunday.
Just like at Railrider Stadium, Relay for Life really gave Octaves another bonding experience. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my fellow singers these past few days and I can truly say I’m more thankful than ever for my spot in the group. This semester has been filled with great performances and even greater memories; I don’t want it to come to an end!
Last Thursday, Octaves and Royal Harmony were honored to sing at Railrider Stadium on Opening Day for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders! The event wasn’t exactly how I expected it to be, but nonetheless was an exciting morning I know I’ll never forget. It all started at 4:30AM. Yes you read that right, 4:30 in the morning! Since it was such an early event, a few of us decided to head over to one of the Kate’s apartment (a soprano in our group) and hang out until we had to leave.
Once we all were at the stadium, the singing began! The production crew taped clips of us singing Take Me Out To The Ball Game (both groups), Geronimo (Octaves), Rather Be (Royal Harmony), and Don’t You Worry Child (both groups). We finished performing around 7AM, headed back to the University and, most of us, went to bed! I have to say the hardest part of this experience wasn’t staying awake, but more so staying warm! Who would think Pennsylvania could be 30 degrees at 5AM? Ha ha! As you can see in this picture, our director came prepared with a blanket.
Yet despite the cold, this performance was so much fun and gave the group perfect bonding time. I was able to get to know my fellow Octaves better than before and grew closer with those I usually don’t get the chance to spend time with at rehearsals. I truly adore this group; there is no one else I would want to sing with before the sun rises! I hope we’re able to sing at opening day again next year.
Thursday (at least I am hoping) might have been the last chilly day for Scranton. Ah yes this long, dreadful winter is finally coming to an end! Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day. It was so beautiful, in fact, it seemed that every soul on campus was outside! Each bench was covered, tables were filled, and the Dionne Green could have been mistaken for a football field. My friends and I were so shocked I had to take pictures.
It may seem silly to be this ecstatic about 70 degrees but warm weather really brings out all the beautiful parts of the University. I personally am not a fan of the cold; I would wear flips flop all year round if I could! And because I have a tendency to become a little more gloomy during the winter months, I appreciate the spring and summer that much more. Being able to write an essay outside or plop myself at a table outside DeNaples with an iced coffee makes school pretty bearable to say the least! Considering I have only a little more than a month left of my freshman year, I’ll definitely be taking advantage of this lovely campus as the 60 and 70 degree days make their way to Scranton.
Hope you’re all enjoying the spring as much as I am and see you next week! 🙂
I have to admit, in my entire, although maybe short, 18 years of living, I’ve never been so excited to see grass. It is quite the treat walking through campus, even in the rain, and being able to appreciate the GREEN Dionne Green! (The Dionne Campus Green is an entire grassy open area in front of DeNaples and the science center that is perfect for sports, hanging out, etc). I’m also more excited than ever to be back at school in general. Of course being home is nice, but I was beyond ready to get back in the swing of things at Scranton. Besides, the University is absolutely beautiful in the spring; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
We are now here for the long haul, which is about six or seven weeks. Academically, the rest of the semester is definitely going to be tough. However, lately I’ve been more thankful than ever for my professors here. There is not one teacher or staff member I feel uncomfortable about meeting with! Two weeks ago I sat down with my literature professor (Dr. Gougeon) and the Chair of the English Department (Dr. Beal). I had a number of questions about assignments, courses, and potentially declaring a minor, and I was nervous they would not want to be bothered with my concerns. Speaking with Dr. Beal and Dr. Gougeon lifted such a weight off my shoulders! But not only were they helpful, but incredibly warm and welcoming as soon as I walked into their offices. I am so glad that I have taken more time this semester to truly familiarize myself with my professors; I don’t feel like I’m missing out on such an amazing aspect of the University anymore. As I said before, the rest of the semester will be tough with the multitude of exams and assignments I have, but I know my professors can give me a nice confidence boost to get me through the more difficult moments of school.
Of course college is not only about school! As most of you know by now, I believe one of the greatest gifts Scranton has given me is Octaves. This weekend the a cappella group has its second gig singing for the Make A Wish Foundation benefit. We’ll be performing one new song, Geranimo, along with one old song, Don’t You Worry Child. I’m hoping someone records us this time!
That’s all for this week. Time to get back to my homework and relaxing with my roommate. I hope you all have a great week and have been having a lovely start to spring!
Happy April! Easter is just a few days away; that means we have another break! Although spring break was only about ten days ago, like I’ve said I’ll never pass up an opportunity to sleep in my own bed. I absolutely love the Easter season and I’m glad I am able to spend these next couple days with my family.
However, when we return, the University is jam packed with events! USPB (the student programming board) has recently sold tickets for a New York City trip on April 11th. Students had the options of purchasing a $10 bus ticket or purchasing a $25 ticket which covered the bus and a ticket to see the new broadway musical Finding Neverland. Who could pass up such a great deal?
USPB isn’t the only organization sponsoring a trip that weekend, the International Student Club is as well! However, this trip is not just a day trip, but a two-days one night stay at the Sheraton Boston! That’s right; the University is giving students the opportunity to explore any part of Boston for a night! My friends and I were deciding if we wanted to go on either of these trips, but unfortunately Octaves has a few performances coming up so I have to stick around campus. But I hope students are taking advantage of these upcoming trips. (I hear there is even a trip to Montreal, Canada the weekend of the 24th! How crazy is that?)
There are also a number of retreats students can sign up for this month. One of these is also the weekend of April 11th and is called Born to be Wild! My one friend told me he’s so excited to head up to the Chapman Lake Retreat Center for this event because it is a little different from the other retreats. This one is going to be filled with walks, hiking, and all that things of that nature! (Ha see what I did there?). If I’m unable to attend an excursion such as the Boston or NYC trip, I most definitely want to go on a retreat. As much as I love Scranton, a weekend away during those final six weeks does not sound bad at all.
Hope you’ve all been having a great week! With more to say, I’ll be back next week.