From a nearly universal love of Groundhog Day to a just as widespread distaste for the Cap Bar line, there are a lot of unusual components to UD culture that bewilder new students and make alumni say with a sigh, “that’s so UD.” Among these common traits is a love for music. It is not unusual for there to be a group of students sitting in the shade with a guitar and more than a few talented voices, adding an Irish ballad or folk song to the chatter of campus. This enjoyment of music is widespread among UD students and has led to such traditions as Friday Nights (an event wherein a group with a guitar and some good tunes sing around a fire), Music on the Mall and Cap House.
Ryan Connor, a senior classics, English and history major, sees this love for music as something integral to UD and typical of her students. “Oftentimes, UD students party in a way that’s very different from a lot of other places. A lot of times what a party looks like is 15 people crowded into an apartment listening to people play.”
“[There’s] not really a setlist, but there’s a collection of songs or genres that are played frequently,” Connor said. “It’s a lot of folk music, a lot of which is Irish, but a lot of American kind of folk and country, too. There’s a ton of students who at least know the guitar and a couple of songs.”
Although this culture of music is very present among student life separate from the university, UD has several ways in which students are invited to celebrate their shared love for music together. Joe Rodda, a sophomore politics major, is the musical entertainment intern for CAB. He is in charge of running all things musical about UD, aside from the music department, of course. He organizes Battle of the Bands, TGIT, Cap House and Music on the Mall.
Cap House is a favorite event of Joe’s. “It does foster a sense of community because you get to see people perform in a capacity that they really sometimes never would have,” he said. “It’s also a way of beautifying campus, I think.”
Cap House is a beloved tradition among other UD students, as well. Dozens of students sign up to perform for the UD community, and their classmates show up to enjoy the atmosphere and celebrate their friends’ passions. While the music is typically folksy and most songs feature a guitar and a beautiful harmony by a couple of talented friends, Cap House has seen everything from karaoke-style renditions of “Valerie” to covers of French pop songs and stand-up comedy. The night is a positive and relaxed event for many students as they get to enjoy live music, spend time with each other and support their friends.
Connor sees this tradition as emblematic of the UD culture. “It just says that the students are really interested in making art as well as studying it in an aca- demic way,” he said.
Kate Rodda, a senior philosophy major and Joe’s older sister, sees Cap House as an opportunity to unite UD students in a kind of act of creation. “In singing, you’re bringing something that wasn’t there before into being and people are now able to participate in that.”
Kate, Joe and their visiting brothers, James and Gabriel, performed at last week’s Hog House. The sibling quartet has been singing together for years, both at home and at parties at the request of the hosts. They grew up in a house that was full of songs, and Kate and Joe have both loved being a part of UD’s music culture now that they are out of their musical house.
Like his sister, Gabriel Rodda, a freshman at Sierra College, appreciates the communal aspect of music. “It can draw in so many more people without other people being necessarily involved,” he said. “It’s not being produced by a bunch of people, but at the same time, it’s uniting them.”
Kate sees Cap House as a particularly wonderful opportunity for the student body to build community because of the nature of the activity. “They’ve bonded over something higher rather than something lower,” she says.
Connor frequently plays at Cap House and hosts music nights in his condo. He remembers the example set for his class during their freshmen year when the seniors, via Cap House and music nights, introduced underclassmen to the songs he and many others would come to regard as UD classics. Now that his senior class is doing the same thing, he expects to see the tradition live on.
As students continue to encourage each other to share their talents and develop their skills, the UD community thrives in a unique way. The wholesome, supportive and unifying nature of UD’s music culture gives her students another reason to say, “Love ye, UD.”