A long time ago Plato said “music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything.” Napoleon was later heard to utter “music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows.” And many, many, years later Pam Rodgers, former Ortega Dining Commons General Manager, said “we’ve got this grand piano in the middle of our dining commons… how can we let it sing!?”
HDAE’s Arts & Culture Committee listened to all of these great people, most specifically Pam, and hatched a plan to bring music to the masses… at least the students eating in the dining commons. A celebratory week of music would occur each spring to coincide with National Music Week which falls on the first week in May each year.
It began quietly with four student pianists offering their services to play in Ortega in 2017. Banners were made and flyers distributed. The social networks were alerted. And people came, ate and listened. With confidence, the plan gained momentum and two a cappella groups and a duet were added the following year, filling out the week with performances outside De La Guerra Dining Commons. In 2019, another duo was added and sounds were soon heard emanating from the main dining room of Carrillo Dining Commons. All the while, the piano played on at Ortega.
And even after the banners are furled and the balloons taken down, on any given day someone is working out the notes to John Lennon’s Imagine or an obscure TV theme song on that bench overlooking the lagoon… and Pam would be pleased. Because “without music, life would be a mistake” (Friedrich Nietzsche). Amen.
A special thanks to the current general managers Jeff Hillery (Ortega), Cresencio Acevedo (DLG), and Soteris Nicolaou and Brian Smith (Carrillo), and everyone else for helping to make this week of music so special.
Welcome to The Compass, UCSB Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises staff e-newsletter. From new staff and buildings, to innovative programs and initiatives that help HDAE offer a great experience to UC Santa Barbara students, we try to cover it all. If you wish to submit article ideas or highlights, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.