When walking around campus, it is hard not to notice the multitude of students listening to music. Whether it be wired earbuds or bulky headphones, it seems that almost everyone is plugged in and jamming out to their own eccentric tunes. At the heart of Vassar’s music-loving population is Vassar College Entertainment (ViCE), an organization devoted to all things music entertainment, renowned for its popular concerts. ViCE provides ways for students to dip their toes into many facets of the world of entertainment—from film to fashion to visual arts. With past concerts including artists such as Flo Milli and Princess Nokia, it is clear that when it comes to music, ViCE knows what’s up.
Every Tuesday night, ViCE members gather next to the ViCE office in Main Building to discuss the newest artist coming to campus, their favorite songs of the summer and what’s new and noteworthy in the music industry. Sure, the organization attracts a plethora of eager first-years, but there are also devoted members that make ViCE the collaborative organization that it is. For readers who are wondering what the latest and greatest music is, look no further than to co-chairs Dora Levite ’24 and Gavriel Epstein ’23 . This dynamic duo not only holds a wealth of knowledge about the ins and outs of the entertainment industry, but they also happen to have impeccable personal taste in music.
Epstein said he draws inspiration from a wide range of influences, from recommendations from his older brother to the songs he hears walking down the street. “Generally [my music taste] really follows the mood I’m in at the given moment,” Epstein explained. Given these ambiguous qualifications, Epstein decided that his song of the summer was “Soledad y el Mar” by Natalia Lafourcade. “It’s slow and mellow and beautiful and encapsulates a lot of the beauty and slowness of Poughkeepsie in the summer,” Epstein described. Beyond his passion for music, Epstein noted that the preceding ViCE co-chairs inspired his dedication to the organization. Epstein aspires to to remind the student body of the beauty a shared love of music creates. Planning the fall concert in particular has been one of Epstein’s favorite aspects of his involvement in ViCE this year. “Seeing the huge number of people excited about, and involved in, the club this year has been super rewarding,” he noted. “There’s a lot of work Dora and I do as co-chairs, but none of it would really work and be able to expand without the participation of everyone in the club.”
Levite enthusiastically agreed. “I loved the way that Hannah Schwimmer and Natalie Day ran ViCE last year. I was so inspired by their leadership and the way that they spoke so fondly of the leaders before them…I knew I wanted to continue their legacy.” Levite noted that in her childhood, going to concerts with family and friends greatly influenced her love of music and, later, her involvement in ViCE. She emphasized that people talking about music is one of the many things about ViCE that she loves. Although she loves all music, Levite particularly enjoys unexpected instrumental movements, such as “Flying Lotus’ bass moment in ‘Never Catch Me,’ ‘Str8 Outta Mumbai’ by Jai Paul and the drums in ‘Fool in the Rain’ by Led Zeppelin.” Levite mused that perhaps the only thing better than unexpected instrumental movements are good walking songs, like her song of the summer, “Hollaback Bitch” by Mura Masa (feat. Shy Girl & Channel Tres). And of course, ViCE is the perfect opportunity for Levite to bond with others over her eclectic music taste, as she expressed, “I cannot wait to create something together that the campus will hopefully love and cherish.”
Social Media Chair for ViCE, Sebastian Montanez ’25, shared similar sentiments: “One of my favorite things is music, and with ViCE, I wanted to get as involved as possible. When I joined ViCE, I was just excited to be a part of something music-related because music is just always so enjoyable.” Mantanez also credits the members of the organization and the creative freedom members have as other reasons he loves being part of ViCE. The energy surrounding meetings and social media interactions makes the hard work that the organization does worth it. “I love working with people, and this club really immerses us in working collaboratively with one another,” emphasized Montanez. Music is the primary driving force that brings members of ViCE together, and the devotion each member brings creates an irreplaceable collaborative environment. As for his song of the summer, Montanez looked towards some of his favorite joyful and loud pop music to inform his decision: “My song of the summer is ‘DESPECHA’ by Rosalia. It is a good Spanish pop summer song with a nice upbeat vibe to get me in a summer mood!”
The sense of community is a common favorite aspect of the club, including for treasurer Autumn Cullinan ’25. “I love going to the meetings every week and just being in a room full of people who share the same love and appreciation for music,” she shared. “I also love getting to meet the artists. It is awesome enough as it is to see these artists perform on our college campus, but even more so to be able to meet them in a casual setting.” Like many other ViCE members, Cullinan shares a passion for finding the trendiest music. In fact, Cullinan noted that her love language is sharing music and making playlists. What has been on Cullinan’s playlists recently? “Good Will Hunting” by Black Country, New Road. But, in typical ViCE style, Cullinan also asserted that her music taste ranges from Elliott Smith to Bladee to Dead Kennedys.
Although first-years have only had the opportunity to attend a few meetings, many already praised the ability to be in a group of people with such varied music tastes and passion for entertainment. New member Matthew Tavarez ’26 exclaimed, “I really love all different types of music, and the potential of new ViCE projects is really exciting. The prospect of eventually celebrating many different art forms and artists on campus will be really amazing.” Tavarez passionately described his future aspirations for his involvement in ViCE, which included delving into more journalistic approaches regarding music entertainment and potentially exploring visual arts more thoroughly. Tavarez also gushed about his taste in music, claiming: “My music taste is all over the place, but I really enjoy R&B; I’m currently enjoying the song ‘Sober’ by Childish Gambino.”
Clearly, ViCE members aren’t ones to dwell in specific genres, and instead would rather dive into as many different musical niches as possible. This flexibility prompts the creative brainstorming that allows for artists all across the musical spectrum to perform at Vassar. The result is a multitude of diverse musical experiences that all Vassar students can sample as they wish, thanks to the hard work of the members of ViCE.