Kirby Spices Campus Up with Music Festival

Angel Xin ’26 and Sienna Soemitro ’26 in News | May 10, 2024

          This past Saturday, May 4, the Kirby House hosted its annual Kirby Music Festival, an event celebrating the many talented student musicians on campus. Although the Kirby House planned for the event to take place on the Crescent Green, this year it was hosted in the Clark Music Center as a result of the rainy weather. 

          Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Kirby Social Representative Kosi Okonkwo ’25 said she “was glad the community was still able to come together and enjoy the musical talents of so many Lawrentians.” Okonkwo further reflected on the planning process, mentioning the importance of her communication with Director of Student Life Ian August, Operations Manager Ian Macdonald, Kirby Head of House Mary Calvert P’04 ’05 ’06, and Kirby House President Ella Fessler ’25 to ensure everything ran  smoothly. “The performers were also, of course, essential to the event,” Okonkwo added. Her main goal was for the Kirby Music Festival “to be a judgment-free zone where both the performers and everyone else could have a wholesome Saturday night.” Reflecting on last year’s successful event, she said, “There are so many people who I had never known were musically gifted, but [they] were able to be their authentic selves while performing.” Although Saturday’s rain caused some to worry about a delay or cancellation, Okonkwo believed that the event was nonetheless a success and cultivated the same judgment-free environment as last year’s.

          At the Festival, Emma Marston ’25 and Busola Babatunde ’25 sang a duet: “Cigarette Daydreams” by Cage The Elephant. “It was something that we really looked forward to,” Marston explained. For the duo, the Festival was more than a performance, but a tradition that they revisit each year. Even though Marston “[did] not know how to play the guitar” prior to the performance, she was able to teach herself the chords by watching tutorial videos on TikTok. While “[she] wished that [she] knew how to play the guitar better,” Martson still greatly enjoyed playing at the event. “My highlight was hearing the cheers when [Babatunde] joined in for the harmony because she was really nervous, but her voice was so beautiful,” Marston elaborated, “she definitely deserved the hype.” Looking ahead, she hopes to perform yet again next year and aims to “practice more extensively.”

          Reflecting on the experience, Christine Wu ’25, a new member of the Disciples, the School’s student-led rock band, described the Kirby Music Festival as “an irreplaceable way to release emotions and be more in touch with the community.” Specifically, Wu noted how multiple individuals “came up to [her] following the performance to tell [her] that the Festival was the most fun they have had at Lawrenceville.” According to Wu, not only was the performance an inspiring experience for the attendees, but it also offered performers an opportunity to “get out of their comfort zone and stand in the spotlight.” Wu explained that the rehearsals leading up to the Festival were a critical part of her experience. In particular, Wu enjoyed trading instruments with her bandmates and simply creating music after their practices. “I love music and I am so grateful to have found a group of people who also love music,” she concluded.