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Indie student bands enrich student experience at St. Olaf

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There I am, walking down the sidewalk in the middle of campus – leaves are flying around my head, my hair is blowing in the wind and “Garcia” by Ointment Appointment is flowing through my ears.

You may have heard of this band, and if you haven’t you either live under a rock or you’re a first-year. Since the creation and introduction of this student band, Ointment Appointment has become widely utilized by students organizations across campus to persuade more student engagement at their events.

Many students are skeptical, imagining just another group of St. Olaf students using music as a way to express their inner angst. However, if you do find yourself at an Ointment Appointment appearance, you may be surprised to discover this campus band really brings a vibrant and original ambience to whatever venue they may be performing in.

As someone who comes from a community with a blossoming local music scene I’ve always tried my best to support new music. When I heard about Ointment Appointment last year I was excited to see what these artists were bringing to the community, and I was more than satisfied. Their sound is refreshing. While listening to their music you can tell that there is intense thought and concentration going into, not just their lyrics, but also the way that each instrument plays an intentional role.

“Ultimately, the entertainment industry is a hard industry to gain influence in and I think there is value in encouraging campus bands to keep making music and creating art.” – Elizabeth Trewartha-Weiner ’21

Recently, while attending the Fall Festival hosted by StoGrow and Wendell Berry House, I finally got to see Ointment Appointment live. I had been at the event pretty much the entire time and about five minutes before Ointment Appointment was to perform the Art Barn filled up with excited audience members.

Although I had listened to their music plenty prior to this show, somehow the details that uncover when watching a live performance made their music even more engaging. I love observing the individual practices that artists have for getting into a performance. Some of the band members weren’t wearing shoes. Others were making jokes with the audience. Maybe practicing a few difficult notes before they became vulnerable in front of the viewers.

When attending a live show you really get to see the honesty and vulnerability that rests behind making music. You may see a million live performances in your life, but taking advantage of shows like this one, that allow you to share an intimate moment with a band are truly unique and so valuable.

Ultimately, the entertainment industry is a hard industry to gain influence in and I think there is value in encouraging campus bands to keep making music and creating art. We can do this by attending campus concerts and events, checking out artists online or even sharing the names of campus musicians with people who aren’t a part of the St. Olaf community. Finally, I want to encourage you to go to an event where local musicians are given a platform.

Music is such a wonderful and expressive experience for both the audience and the musician. As a musician, being willing to open yourself up to the unsolicited opinions and judgements of the public is difficult. As friends and as classmates we can help lift up our fellow students in their artistic endeavors by supporting them and validating their efforts to share their art.

Listening to campus bands could also be a beneficial practice for you and your own self development as well. The more variety in the music you listen to, I think, the more you can gain a holistic and diverse appreciation for this form of art.

So if you do find yourself at an event here on campus headlined by Ointment Appointment, I hope you make the choice to “Stay Awhile” – and to check out their track of the same name.


Elizabeth Trewartha-Weiner ’21 (trewar1@stolaf.edu) is from Rochester, Minn. Her major is undeclared