Hail to the Playas

All the regular players were there, with a few fresh faces to add to the mix. The energy was intensifying with each performance. A fan favorite was in the room and would prove to be the climax to the night’s set list. Wearing a yellow scarf draped around his shoulders hanging down to his waist, topped off with a black beret, stood CSC Communication professor Robert Waugneux whaling on an acoustic guitar.

The crowd was clapping and chanting “tweet, tweet” where necessary in Wuagneux’s cover of Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin.” The zany instructor entranced the audience, made up of both teachers and students, and played three more songs before two of the Pub Night Players took hold of the microphone to wrap things up.

Castleton students Wyatt Andrews and Nicole Adams act as the co-coordinators of the Pub Night Committee. Andrews is a jack-of-all-trades as he plays the role of host, rapper, bassist and guitarist. Adams sings as well as playing guitar, and classmate Colin Kelly rocks a gold Les Paul guitar.

The three students make up only a portion of the Pub Night Players. The other two players are Sociology professor Phil Lamy on drums, and Philosophy professor Brandon Lalor on bass.

The show starts out with the Pub Night Players tuning their equipment and beginning to jam out together. After they finished performing, Andrews stepped up to the mic to introduce the next artist for the venue. Castleton sophomore Ben Guihan stood at the microphone holding an acoustic guitar.

“This is an old blues song for new hard times,” Guihan told the crowd.

After Guihan’s gutsy performance of a vintage style sound the crowd cheered for the regular until Andrews returned to the stage to introduce the house poet.

The wordsmith is part time English professor Burnham Holmes. He recites his poetry, receiving an enthusiastic response from each person in the crowd.

“I enjoy it,” he said of reading his poetry. “It’s a different level relationship with students. You read your poem, I’ll read mine, maybe we can read one together.”

Holmes read three poems, one of which was with senior Emily Littler. The two read a poem that was really just a comedic phone conversation, the audience laughed as Holmes and Littler referenced Edgar Allen Poe, and exploded with clapping to the funny finish. The poetry session was over, but a familiar face was brought up on stage to follow up Holmes and Littler.

Julian DeFelice, sporting a new haircut, played three songs on an acoustic before Andrews would return to the stage to rap a little bit. His rhymes were filled with interesting diction and had some political messages tied in as well. Lalor provided him with some bass, as Lamy sat at the drum set tapping the symbol and beating the drum. When he was done rapping, Andrews was very excited to introduce freshmen newcomers Adam Shappy and Eric Whittaker.

“There’s a lot of people coming out of the woodwork to play,” Andrews said before pub night began.

Shappy provided the electric guitar as his partner in crime, Whittaker, played rhythm on acoustic. Whittaker serenaded the crowd with a Jack Johnson-esque voice, singing a song he and Shappy had spent about a week writing. The room of about 45 people cheered as the two finished playing.

“We were nervous, but everyone was chilling so it wasn’t that bad,” they both said, and seemed sure they would definitely be returning to more pub nights.

Wuagneux played five songs, and got the audience involved in all of them.

“He’s a crowd pleaser,” said Lamy after Wuagneux’s performance. “They get into it.”
Andrews agreed, but pointed out pub night doesn’t play favorites.

“There’s a lot of hidden talent on this campus,” he said. “Some people come to see their friends play, the women’s lacrosse team comes to see Nikki [Adams] sing. They love Wuagneux, and Doug Phresh has a pretty big following.”

Every Thursday night Andrews and Adams arrive at Huden Dining Hall around 7 p.m. to set up for the pub night festivities. Lamy is the adviser of the pub night operations and his serving learning class, Community in American Society, is responsible for the Coffee Cottage as well pub night.

“Although we’re a small college we’ve lost our community spaces,” Lamy said. “What’s happened in our society is we’ve lost important social places. Places where people can interact.”

Lamy said pub night has been a responsible, relaxed setting for alcohol to be served on campus. He said the average person of age drinks one to two beers during their time in the Spartan Room. Pub night has never had any incidents and has been a good time and a cheery atmosphere, according to the pub night drummer.

“Here I’m not your teacher or your boss, we can talk about things together or have a beer together,” said Lamy, adding. “People are relaxed, they’re more themselves and honest about who they are. It’s a comfortable place for students to drink on campus responsibly.”

Andrews agreed with Lamy.

“It’s cool that people can come in and have a drink with their professor, or how faculty and students can just hang out together,” said Andrews explaining the comfortable atmosphere in the Spartan Room.

“You get to see your professor out of class,” Adams said. “You see them as another person, not your professor.”

Andrews said pub night started out as an event, something that happened on campus. Now it has morphed into a weekly gathering that has grown substantially since its birth. Talent is around campus hiding every according to Andrews, and with a growth in attendance

“People keep coming back,” said Andrews. “They come once and they keep coming back.”
Adams smiled and said jokingly, “Free pizza doesn’t hurt either.”

The Andrews-Adams duo has started up a Myspace page with pub night recordings at www.myspace.com/pubnightplayers. They are also starting open mic night on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. to provide people a steppingstone to perform on the pub night set list.

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