A New Tune

Student Musical Artists on the Rise


The pluck of a guitar string, the note of a piano, and the toot of a french horn, music comes in all shapes here at the school. With a very decorated orchestra, band, and jazz band, music is not new to Generals. However, some students are more in touch with the tune than others. Consider students going on their own musical endeavors, whether that be SoundCloud rapping or an indie band, practicing in your dads garage. Being musically inclined is a trait envied by many. Many artists have honed in on their craft since a young age. 

The girls of Indigo Thursday, a band located in Alexandria, Virginia, met through “ROAM” (Rock of Ages Music),  a community whose goal is to bring together musically inclined people and create bands. They all came together, through ROAM’s community. Indigo Thursday consists of Miranda Tonsetic (guitar and voice), Helen Russell (drums), Eliza Gwin (piano, guitar and voice), Maddie Cantrell (guitar and voice) and Sofie Keppler (Bass). 

“[ROAM] is kind of a program that has music lessons and then they put some of their music students together sometimes, They create a band so students can learn kind of how to work with other artists,” Russell said.

The girls all came together and started creating and writing music. The more they gained traction throughout ROAM community, the more people were interested in joining the band, 

 “I contacted the head of ROAM,” Russell said. “I was like, ‘Hey, if you’re looking for a drummer, I’m so interested.’” 

 Senior Carolyn Newman, lead singer of “Melivin Walker” comments on how she has been singing ever since she was young.  “[I have been singing] since I was talking,” Newman said.

 “When I was young, I used to sing outside my window, and hope to get famous that way, as if someone would hear me off the street and sign me,” Newman said.

Freshman Sean Allen, joins in with his experience of singing.

 “I’ve been singing for forever,” Allen said.

He usually tends to his creative outlet through school chorus, where he sings baritone. However, over the summer, he was featured on a song with a friend and O’Connell student, Molly Ryan. 

“I know people perceive the song as a joke,” Allen said. “I definitely wasn’t too serious, but still, it’s important to experiment and do different things with your creativity.” 

Many students draw inspiration from existing musicians, sophomore Sam Jackman credits the late 1960s tune as a major influence in the kind of music he makes. 

 “I have always been a huge Beatles fan, and their music is what inspired me to keep going and create my own music,” Jackman said. “I always wanted to be like George Harrison, and to this day I still do.” 

While Jackman prefers the mellow sound, Newman has a specific kind of music she credits as her creative harness, 

“I remember in eighth grade, I used to listen to Ariana Grande [and] Pop Country [music],” Newman said. “When my sister went to University of Vermont (UMV), she was introduced to new music, and she showed me the Grateful Dead. [I] started listening to it and it kind of just opened my mind, a new type of music [was] like a whole new world.” 

Allen likes to support people of color (POC) artists, he likes the tune of R&B and occasionally listens to rap. 

“Steve Lacey, SZA, Frank Ocean [are big inspirations to me],” Allen said.

Indigo Thursday prides themselves as being a band that writes, produces, and performs all original songs, Although, the process of creating one takes a different form in each of the girls, 

“For me, I like to play guitar and find a chord progression or like a sound that I like”.  “Then [I] work from there. I start writing lyrics and melodies on top of it. It’s not a super like organized process.” said Cantell

The process varies between the members, but all find it a great way to connect with their emotions and have a healthy creative outlet. Newman also takes creativity into play when it comes to her art. Newman fell in love with a style of performance called Jam, this style of live playing hones in on the connection between band members and letting the music take you over. 

“[The] Grateful Dead’s whole thing is they go on stage and they don’t plan it out,” Newman said. “They just play a song a different way every single time. That’s kind of sick, which is like what a jam band is.” 

The idea of creating music in the future had mixed emotions with the artists, some earned for that part of their life, some stated it was just a phase. 

“I mean, there’s a lot of things that I’m passionate about in life,  music is a big one,” Newman said, “But there’s art [and] also environmental stuff, nature.” 

Jackman wonders about the future of his music.

“I would love to continue making music in the future,” Jackman said. “I plan to begin playing gigs at local restaurants starting in February. I don’t believe the college music path is for me but I do not plan to stop anytime soon.”