Competitors compose original odes to Linfield

Joan Paddock sings

- Photo by Jeff Primozich/ For the Review

Jordan Jacobo

Linfield’s Spring Sing contest promises to be a diverse soundscape, with songs ranging from a women’s quartet to a country tune on acoustic guitar to potential alma maters to just-for-fun lyrics.

The contest is the first in what many hope will become an annual tradition at the school.

“We all agreed that a song contest would be a lot of fun and throw us back to past traditions,” senior Aaron Larsen, a coordinator for the contest, said.

Six songs with original lyrics and music will be performed May 9 in the Oak Grove. The contest begins at 4 p.m.

Two parody submissions that put an ironic lyrical twist on popular songs will wrap up the competition as the judges deliberate.

Here’s a look at all the finalists:

Aaron Larsen–“Roots”

While listening to President Thomas Hellie’s sesquicentennial address in January, Larsen found inspiration from the recent collapse of the Old Oak.

“(Hellie) said that Linfield is so much more than just the oak,” Larsen said. “He mentioned roots as being the source of strength. I thought about that a couple of weeks ago and decided it would be a great topic for a song.”

He said the experience of being a Linfield student is part of what drew him to write the song.

“It’s that feeling you get when you walk around campus and someone you don’t know smiles at you,” Larsen said. “You have to smile back. You want to. It’s hard to put into words why that happens, but I believe that through music we can do that.”

Matthew Wakeford Evans-“My Linfield”

Senior Matthew Wakeford-Evans said his song is about the Linfield experience. He couldn’t quite put a finger on what it sounds like, but his amusing rhetoric of the song waxes philosophic.

“I derived the complex and ironic meaning of this poetic symphony from the holistic relationship between my soul and Linfield,” he said. “It sounds like a commercial jingle.”

In addition to the contest song, he will be bringing back a familiar fan favorite. His parody of “Part of Your World” from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” which helped Wakeford-Evans win the Mr. Linfield contest in the fall, will be performed.

He said the song contest is valuable because it encourages creativity outside the classroom.

Professors Peter Richardson and Joan Paddock-“Searching Days” and “The Gift of Time”

As the Spring Sing approached, Joan Paddock, professor of music, asked Professor of German Peter Richardson if he had any poetry she could put to music.

Richardson sent a few poems he recently had completed to Paddock.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I left that completely up to her. I listened to the music she had written, and it was really quite wonderful.”

Paddock said it had been years since she had composed music, so she was nervous to try it out.

“As I was reading his text, a melody just came into my mind,” she said.

“Searching Days” will be sung by junior Sam Dinsmore. A women’s quartet made up of faculty members from the music department will sing “The Gift of Time.”

Sean Branchfield–“How Do You See Yourself?”

Branchfield, who graduated from Linfield in 2006, said the song was inspired by a friend who asked a simple question: “How do you see yourself in six months?”

The song is written for piano and voice, he said.

“It’s a reflection looking back at how college life affected who you are and what you are, as well as looking to the future,” Branchfield said.

Branchfield plans on attending New York University for a master’s degree in music composition next fall.

Branchfield said he had fond memories of his college experience before he graduated Linfield.

“I remember walking around in that daze when you wake up in the morning, looking around, realizing you’re in college,” Branchfield said. “I remember playing music, and of course I remember hanging out with friends. It was good times.”

Cynthia Lester–“Ode to Linfield”

“It sounds like a hymn,” freshman Cynthia Lester said about her song. “It’s just about being here.”

Written for piano and voice, it’s her first composition. Lester learned of the competition in her music theory class and thought it would be a good learning experience.

Lester said it’s intimidating being the youngest
person in the song contest. The hardest part for her was trying to find the right lyrics to go with the music, she said.

Music is a huge part of her of life, Lester said. She hopes the contest will happen again in the next few years.

“Without music, life would be pretty dull,” Lester said. “Music is everything to me. I don’t even know where to begin with it sometimes.”

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