On the evening of April 8, students gathered in Noyes Circle to enjoy the annual all-campus music celebration hosted by Noyes House, cleverly named “Noise on Noyes.” Groups of people lounged on picnic blankets and watched student musicians perform on stage, while others ogled the blue and yellow bouncy house, complete with a 15-or-so-foot tall inflatable Batman and a slide.
It was my first time this semester at an outdoor music event. I sat on a blanket with a group of friends and basked in the soothing atmosphere. Tents were set up on the outskirts of Noyes Circle where Twisted Soul and La Cabañita, two beloved local restaurants, were selling tacos, burritos and bubble tea to eager students.
Noyes Programming Director Madeleine Freundlich ’24 worked for months with the rest of Noyes House Team to plan the all-campus event. In past years, Noise on Noyes included more food vendors and extra carnivalesque entertainment. “This year, we had a more music-and-concert-oriented vision,” Freundlich explained. “In order to bring in lots of fun activities, we have to solicit contractors, which takes some logistical figuring. Our House Team has been very involved and supportive of the whole process, which has made booking artists [and] getting food, inflatables and publicity a lot easier.”
According to Freundlich, New York City-based artist My Friend Shawn was supposed to perform with his band at the event, but had to pull out due to COVID-19 complications. Noyes Student Fellow Marisa McGehee ’24 was grateful that the event was a success despite the challenges. “It got pretty stressful for everyone in the days leading up to the event because our headliner pulled out, and we were really worried about the weather holding up. Luckily, it ended up being a really beautiful day and going relatively smoothly despite those obstacles,” she shared.
Although My Friend Shawn’s withdrawal from the lineup of musical artists was a stressful change, it created more opportunities to feature Vassar’s very own student musicians.
Elizabeth Hetzel ’24, a musician and Noyes resident, opened the event with two songs from their debut album Hyperreality and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” For Hetzel, performing at Noise on Noyes was an excellent opportunity to share their passion for music with the Vassar community. “As a solo artist, I’ve been finding it harder lately to get performance opportunities, so it was very kind of my friends on Noyes House Team to reach out to me,” she shared. “It was a lovely experience. It’s been a while since I’ve performed, so I was admittedly a bit rusty at first, but I really appreciate the opportunity to have done so,” she continued.
A few acts later, Sam Hurwitz ’25 took the stage with his guitar and harmonica where he performed the song “Wave” from his debut album I Drowned & I Woke Up, an original unreleased song “Nothing’s Visibly Wrong (But I Feel Wrong)” and a cover of “Scott Street” by Phoebe Bridgers.
Hurwitz became involved with the event when he saw that the Noyes House Team was looking for student musicians. “It seemed like a great event, and I think opportunities like that for student musicians where we can express ourselves and share our work are very important here on campus,” he explained.
While attendees listened to the music, long lines formed at the tents for food from La Cabañita and Twisted Soul. “We made sure to include local vendors so that people could have an immersive experience and eat some food not offered at the Deece,” Freundlich said. “La Cabañita and Twisted Soul are tried and true,” she added.
Freundlich was right—as I sat at the event, students all around me chatted and laughed as they drank bubble tea from Twisted Soul and savored the final bites of beef and vegetable burritos from La Cabañita.
McGehee agreed with Freundlich, noting, “I was really glad that we got La Cabañita and Twisted Soul to come to the event, because I think that attracted a lot of people to come and eat good food and listen to good music with their friends.” McGehee was especially excited to have these vendors come to campus because of their relationship with Vassar. “It’s always exciting to have events that connect Vassar with the Poughkeepsie community,” she emphasized.
For McGehee, Noise on Noyes was a way to showcase and celebrate the dorm and the people living within it. “I’ve come to appreciate how [Noyes] fosters a really interesting community of people. So, it was really nice to have an event to celebrate that community and draw attention to some of the good parts of living here,” McGehee shared.
However, Noise on Noyes was not just a celebration of the dorm; it was a way for students to listen to their peers perform and to enjoy a reposeful Friday night. Kathleen Brawley ’25 attended the event and took note of the joyous atmosphere. “Everyone was really happy to be there,” she said. “The student performances were great, even commented on by some of the vendors. It was a really nice precursor to summer.”
Compared to other concert-like events I’ve attended here at Vassar, I noted that Noise on Noyes was remarkably peaceful—a gentle celebration of local Poughkeepsie food and music ranging from airy folk to acoustic rock. Compared to the typical diligence and busyness ever present on Vassar’s campus, Noise on Noyes was a much needed and cherished moment of calm.