Contra is dancing again
“They’re more structured than dancing at an Old K party, but less so than ballroom dances,” Maddy Manly ’18 said about contra dances, which she will host again after a two-year hiatus. Contra dancing involves live music and a caller, who shouts out the moves to the dance and participants who are familiar with the style. Manly said that while dancers know the moves used in contra, they learn each specific dance on the spot. She explained that it was difficult to find people who wanted to play contra music which draws from elements of folk and resembles square-dancing. This past year, she met Oliver Vandenberg ’20, who plays drums, fiddle and accordion — among other instruments — at a track party in an North Campus Apartment , where he and several other students played contra music. Manly said that the informal setting was perfect for the relaxed style of dance. After they met, Manly and Vandenberg found more band members and a caller. Manly is advertising now more than she has in the past and hopes to have more dances in the NCAs this year.
Bike Barn heads down a new trail
Sean Deryck ’18 started volunteering for K-Bikes in the summer of 2015. He replaced the former manager, last year and changed the organization’s name to the Bike Barn. While those involved used to focus their efforts on lending bikes to international students, they now mostly repair bikes for community members or students. They charge a lower price than traditional repair shops because the money goes solely toward the replaced parts, as because the Bike Barn is staffed by volunteers. Staff members collect and refurbish bikes left on campus at the end of the year. This year, the Bike Barn collected more abandoned bikes than last. Deryck worked with David Hanna ’18, Ethan Bradley ’20 and Julia Unangst ’20 over the summer and wants to use some of the extra bikes for practice while training new volunteers. Deryck will be sending out an email seeking new volunteers with specified work hours.
Music and spirit converge in Pep Band
Kenyon’s Pep Band is back after more than a decade-long absence. This time, they have an inordinate love for the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” Although the group typically features brass and woodwind instruments, they accept any type of instrument, whether the player has experience with it or not. The group practices once or twice a week, depending on the amount of performances. Last year, they also performed at a benefit concert, parents’ weekend and Thumbs Up day. In December, they played impromptu songs for students in Peirce during their “play-a-gram” fundraiser. Kaylin Allshouse ’19 and Jonathan Urrea Espinoza ’19 founded Pep Band two years ago, and the group has grown quickly. Aside from playing music, the band had its own masquerade-themed formal last year, organized a carnival and formed a Village Inn trivia night group called the “Peppers.” This year they also have plans to perform at a race in Columbus and then spend a weekend together in the city. To join, just show up. The group practices from 9 to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Rosse Hall.
Pealers ring in the weekend
Most Kenyon students are familiar with the work of the Pealers, even if they don’t know anything about them. Every Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., the 138-year-old bells of the Church of the Holy Spirit ring out, playing anything from the Star Wars theme to traditional peals used in churches for centuries. Popular genres to play include musical theater and movie scores. Behind the music are the Kenyon Pealers. The modern iteration of the group was founded in the 1980s when Robert Blythe ’82 refurbished the bells after they had spent more than sixty years in disuse. Anyone is free to try their hand at the bells — musical expertise is not required. For those who are interested in improving their skills, experienced Pealers occasionally offer “pealing boot camps,” where they practice the traditional peals for longer than usual. The Pealers also play at Kenyon ceremonies like Convocation and Matriculation. “It’s been a chance to try an unusual instrument in a friendly and supportive environment,” Fiona Ellsworth ’20, a Pealer, said.