Walking around campus, there are few people who are not wearing earbuds. Everyone is on their own path, listening to their own playlist full of songs that have meaning specifically to their experiences. People use music in all kinds of ways: to entertain, to cope, to inspire, to motivate, and so many more. To better understand the general music taste on campus, we asked 57 people what their favorite song is and created a playlist of the results. We also interviewed three SJU students who feel that music is a major part of their lives to get a more in-depth look on how music affects the typical college student.

David Hummel

David Hummel, a senior here at SJU, can be seen all around campus, as he is very involved in the different activities that the school provides. He is involved with the Kinney Center where he is a SCHOLAR, spends time at campus ministry, and is involved with the chapel choir. Coming to college, David didn’t know what kind of impact music could have on a person, but his view of music changed during his sophomore year when he was singing carols to a group of Jesuits:

“There were these two brothers who were actually brothers in real life and one of them had Alzheimer’s… they were holding hands and swaying back and forth singing along, and then later on I realized that the way that the Jesuits– the way that those brothers were the oldest one who had Alzheimer’s that was his way of remembering who his brother was and remembering who his family was… and this was one of the reasons I
joined choir.” 

David Hummel, 2019
David Hummel [front left in the black shirt] and the other seniors in the chapel choir. Photo sent by David Hummel.

David’s mission when singing is purely to help people; he says that, “I do it just because I want to help people, I don’t do it for anything else. I just want to help people.” He finds it amazing that people can use music as a way to heal, whether it be through the lyrics, the story of the song, or the way it’s delivered. David Hummel is an inspiration to all, as he works to help people overcome the adversities that they face in their lives.

Annie Meko

Although Annie Meko is a sophomore communications major with an English minor, music permeates throughout her life. She claims that her love of music was almost unavoidable due to her father, on the board of the Philly Pops, playing the trumpet, her mother being a singer, and grandparents teaching music as their careers. “So when I say that music has been pervading my entire life [I mean] like from the time I was born.” Annie recalls that even before elementary school, she, “would spend hours in my basement listening to my dad’s Who CD’s and listening to like Rush with my brother and we would put on shows.” From there, she joined the school choir in kindergarten, started playing instruments in the fourth grade, and became involved with the glee club, band, music theory classes and acapella groups in high school that allowed her to start arranging her own music. Coming to college, Annie has continued to display her love of music as she’s now a part of Hawkapella and University Singers. For Hawkapella, she is on the board and represents the group in the Arts Council. This entails planning activities with other artistic groups, coming up with ideas for events, and overall coordinating different performances throughout the school year. In fact, Invitational is November 9th and many different musicians around campus will be performing. 

Annie Meko singing Crazy with Hawkapella. Video uploaded to Youtube by Hawkapella SJU.

Annie feels that music will always be a part of her life, but not necessarily in a professional sense. She says, “I don’t know if music will ever be a career for me but I want to be performing in some aspect for the rest of my life.” Although she doesn’t see herself having a career in music, she still has hope that one day she will end up on Broadway, a dream that she’s had since she was listening to music in the basement with her brother. Annie Meko has always sought out music in her life and has used this to build to the positive, loving community that surrounds her.

Abby Varker

A photo of Abby Varker.

Abby Varker, a sophomore majoring in Psychology on a Pre-med track, is well-versed in how music affects her and the people around her. She is a member of Campus Ministry, the Rape Intervention Prevention Team,  University Singers, and the SJU Theater Company. She feels very connected to songs that she associates with specific person or memory. For example, her favorite song, Migraine by 21 Pilots, has been “pretty standard and it’s been my favorite [song] for a while just because it has significant meaning to me and to a personal friend who is also a friend of the band.” Music can mean many different things to many different people; for Abby, “Music to me is something that gives me an artistic form of expression that I have talent in and something that I feel very secure in sharing.” Abby understands that music means something different to everyone, and does her best to explain different perspectives of situations through music.

A video of Abby Varker performing at a theater summer camp, where she works as a counselor, during the counselor showcase. Sent by Abby Varker.

Every year, the SJU Theater Company puts on four performances that are chosen in order to give the audience a glimpse of lives that are not similar to the ones we are living as college students. Instead, the board chooses scripts that depict situations that most college students do not deal with like marriage or how a homosexual person struggle to tell others about their sexuality. The music in these performances attempts to help people understand that others have different experiences and that we should all attempt to empathize with one another. Abby whole-heartedly believes that this message of the SJU theater company should be heard by all of the people at Saint Joseph’s University. Abby Varker attempts to explain her feelings and important messages through the art of music.

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