Above: Claire performs a short piece on her fiddle during a quiet moment on campus
Stepping out of the car on my first day at Maine Coast Semester, I remember feeling excited, curious, and a little bit nauseous. I’m not going to lie, my first 24 hours here were awkward for me, and I missed my cat a fair amount. I spent my first night contemplating my decision to absorb myself into the Chewonki lifestyle for the next 4 months of my life. I was especially hesitant about my decision because I feared I would lose one of my closest companions: music.
After a night of restless sleep, I awoke to the sound of the bell which summons us to chores and breakfast. The day went on with icebreakers sprinkled throughout, but again, I continued to feel uncertain. Day turned to night, and I sat down at a table with a group of students and faculty to make some art. It was at that moment when a cluster of people began to gather around the piano next to us.
Sue West, our art teacher, sat down at the piano and started playing chords. Tentative voices began to trickle over Sue’s piano playing. I couldn’t help but smile as I saw people start to relax into the music. Soon, we had made it to the song Hallelujah, and that trickle of voices turned into a chorus of song and laughter. Our voices filled the dining hall as we unified in this one moment. It was something spontaneous and totally beautiful. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so afraid of the 4 months ahead of me.
Later, during Cabin Meeting, I was asked about the best part of my day, and my reply was easy: “There was this moment today when we all broke out in song, and it made me feel at home. It was something beautiful.” My cabin-mates nodded their heads in agreement. I guess we all needed a little music that day because it has the tendency t0 create bonds between people and comfort in our souls.
Now I try to find an opportunity to join in with the spontaneous music around campus everyday. Whether that be with our incredible acapella group (The Decomposers), jamming with my talented fellow semester students, or even listening to the music of the birds, this whole campus is filled with music. From this I’ve learned that I will never lose my music because I bring it with me wherever I go, and others do too.
So, to any future semester students, I encourage you to remember that similar to how music is deeply rooted in my soul, music is deeply rooted in Chewonki’s soils, and it will be here waiting for you to help it blossom!
Claire, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth, ME