It didn’t replace the feeling of performing before friends and fellow students in the warm confines of the Benjamin Mays Center at Bates.

But it still felt good, said Maddie Hallowell ’20 of North Haven, Maine, after performing for a Zoom-based installment of the long-running Village Club Series, a staple of campus entertainment offered by the college’s Campus Life office since 1993.

“It felt really great to see who was watching,” she says. “It was the first time that I felt connected to Bates,” since the college went to remote learning in March.

VCS Highlights
More highlights from recent virtual Village Club Series events.

Bates Communication videographer Theophil Syslo caught up with several VCS Showcase performers to hear their sometimes bittersweet experiences of performing music as a way to still feel connected to their college and friends.

Maddie Hallowell ’20

Senyo Ohene ’20

For Senyo Ohene ’20 of Accra, Ghana, it was a reminder of why he loves Bates.

“The events that bring us together: all the fun things, watching people display their talents,” he says. “Just because we’re not all together, doesn’t mean we need to lose those things.”

Meg O’Brien ’22 and Bryce O’Brien ’20

A sweet moment (1:08) came from siblings Meg O’Brien ’22 and Bryce O’Brien ’20 of Bristol, R.I., who performed John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” as a tribute to the late singer-songwriter.

It was the first VCS performance for the siblings, who’d long wanted to perform at a VCS. “It just didn’t work out before,” says Meg. This time, “we decided, just gotta do it,” says Bryce.

“It’s been a good way to keep the Bates community connected, amongst all the things Bates is doing to keep us connected,” adds Meg.

Katia Ryan ’23 and Sean Ryan ’85

A humorous VCS Showcase moment came from Katia Ryan ’23 of Amsterdam, N.Y., and her dad, Sean Ryan ’85. “Hey, shoutout to anyone from the Class of ’85 watching this on their MySpace account,” said Ryan.

“Music has been helpful: a time to disconnect from your phone and computer and just play an instrument,” says Katia. “What was truest and the same and what Bates is all about, was the energy and kindness of everyone. All the chats and people texting me after. Bates really is special.”

Robyn Moss ’20

Robyn Moss ’20 of White Plains, N.Y., performed a song she composed that might speak to the entire Class of 2020, about inhabiting an “awkward, uncomfortable, in-between space, all but kicked out of college in my last semester without a job lined up,” she says. “I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had, but I feel so stuck now — reflecting on that duality.”

Ian Robertson ’21

Ian Robertson ’21 of West River, Md., said it was “cool to see all the Bates faces, people I recognize, tuning in,” as he performed a song about home.

Michael Williams ’20, Drew Collins ’20, Pat Crowley ’20, Hunter Quigg ’20

One performance featured senior friends Michael Williams of Wilton, Conn., Drew Collins of Oakland, Calif., Pat Crowley of Concord, Mass., and Hunter Quigg of Montrose, Pa.

The group, allows Williams, “have just been hanging out in our living room — just playing music and not being very good. We probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get up in front at a VCS at Bates.

“But this felt like, ‘We’ve just been hanging out being idiots, it just so happens that people are watching us, and that’s OK.”

Nick White ’21

In lieu of not being able to present a traditional junior recital, pianist Nick White ’21 of Brunswick, Maine, performed classical music. He pointed the camera on his hands because, he says, “I’ve been told they look like Timothée Chalamet’s body, so I’m going to put the camera on these bad boys!”

“Just seeing other college-age students made me feel like I was back at Bates.”

Muskan Verma ’21

 “Watching people, being proud of them, feeling that Bates people have such amazing talents, and then going on and being so supported: that was such a Bates thing,” says Muskan Verma ’21 of Shimla, India.

“I felt connected to Bates again — to something again — was so nice.”