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Roanotes Sound Off in Regional A Cappella Contest


Written by Bradley Bommarito

Eleven of Roanoke College’s most talented vocalists competed in the Mid-Atlantic qualifier round of the Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Capella (ICCA) last month.  Though they didn’t return with a victory, they put their singing skills and teamwork to the test and had the bonding experience of a lifetime.

“We have a very young group, most of our members are underclassmen.  I am very proud that we handled the competition so well considering over half of our people have never competed before,” said sophomore Owen Gold, RoaNotes president.

The RoaNotes were given 12 minutes to perform without the use of any instrumentals or recorded music.  They performed a variety of songs that had been arranged by junior Noelle Warfford, the group’s director.

“As a director, I strive to help each individual find their part and to create harmony within the group,” said Warfford.

The group competed against ten schools from the region, including George Mason University, the College of William and Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, and George Washington University.  Most of the teams were larger than the RoaNotes and possessed more resources.

“Even though we didn’t have the resources of larger schools that had marching band style choreography, we still put on a quality performance.  We consistently scored 4 out of 5 in professionalism,” said Warfford.

Preparation for this competition began over a month in advance.  The RoaNotes started out practicing about three days a week, then practicing nearly every day in the week leading up to the contest.

“Pretty much everyone in the group is willing to do whatever it takes to get ready for such a big competition,” said Warfford.

The contest was somewhat different than what the RoaNotes are typically used to, but they put in the time and effort to adapt to the competitive environment.

“Compared to choir where you follow along with a piano or organ, with a capella you’re relying on your fellow teammates to achieve the results you want,” said freshman Senn Boswell.

For the RoaNotes, a capella isn’t just a hobby- it’s a passion.

“You can tell that our members love singing and making music.  We were singing in the van all the way down and all the way back.  Many Pitch Perfect jokes were made on this trip,” said Boswell.

The competition was a unique experience that represents the culmination of months of practice and preparation.

“It’s a full-on show and it’s really cool to just be a part and see the other teams perform,” said Boswell.

The Roanotes are the only mixed a capella group at Roanoke College.  They have competed in the quarter finals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella for the past four years in a row.  The group usually performs for a variety of charities and organizations both on and off the RC campus.

“It’s fascinating that you can have a whole musical performance with no instruments and just people,” said Gold.

If you love singing and you’re interested in a capella, consider auditioning for the RoaNotes in the fall.  Interested students should contact Owen Gold at ojgold@mail.roanoke.edu.

Miller Hall Smokers Persevere Through Wind and Rain


Written by Joe Krzyston

It’s been a rainy week here at Roanoke College, and many of us stuck closely to the shelter of buildings, venturing outside only to dart to class or commons. Every society has its standouts, however, and ours is no exception. This week, nobody displayed more tenacity and courage than the Miller Hall Smokers.

Sometimes, when twenty year olds smoke, they do it for silly reasons, to annoy their parents or doctors, but not this crowd. No, they proved that they were in it for the long haul, standing in a cold, bitter rain, huddling under a shelter roughly the size of a postage stamp, taking drags from American Spirits and those weird Marlboros of indeterminate variety with the black and green motif on the packs.

“It’s a lifestyle,” said one of the smokers, “and it’s one that we stick to. Like I always say, when you make a commitment, you don’t just make a commitment on the easy days. You make a commitment on the hard days too. So say what you will about what we’re doing- at least it’s an ethos.”

The Miller Hall Smokers, with an affiliate chapter that meets behind West Hall, is one of RC’s oldest clubs, membership dating back to the fondly remembered days of indoor smoking. Though dwindling in numbers, they maintain a loyal following, one not easily dissuaded by threat of rain or wind.

“Throw whatever you want at us,” said a leader of the group, “but there’s not a lot that can knock us down.” She paused, took a drag, and looked out over the rolling hills of the back quad pensively, adding “Well, except maybe some cardiovascular stuff down the road.”

Students Fondly Remember Nudity in Commons


Written by Elizabeth Janes

Jan. 31, 2018 is a day that will live on in Roanoke College History. On Wednesday night around 7:30 p.m., student and Commons staff alike were surprised to find their evening interrupted by a distressed topless woman on the television in Commons.

“I couldn’t process what I was seeing,” said one student, who witnessed the shock and confusion sweep the remaining diners as they realized what they were seeing. As the scene on the television and in the dining hall continued to unfold, the film became recognizable as the 2007 classic Reno 911!: Miami. Who could have thought that the cinematic debut of the buddy cop duo from Nevada could case such a midweek stir?

The action continued for several minutes (though it seemed to drag on for hours) and, eventually, everyone went back to their salads. The events of the evening were from over as the nameless (topless) woman graced the screen no once but upwards of three (3) additional times. An unnamed source has confirmed that she “hasn’t seen that much action since Vietnam” and I can personally vouch that Commons hasn’t been that fun since the 80s.

Seeing Illness As An Attribute


Written by Isaac Davis

It’s that time of the year. Palms are clammy, health services are quarantining and demand for soup and Sudafed has never been higher. In our sun-starved condition, the only power we have left is to positively frame our winter ailments.

You are not alone: look left – running noses, hacking coughs – look right – pallid skin, lifeless eyes. These are your people, a new, eclectic social group you haven’t even had to work for. Vast expanses of common ground have opened up: get to know someone.

Along with sweats and shivers you now have limitless ammunition for excuses. Some nasty symptoms are a great step toward a professor accepting late work or waiving an absence. You can even expect a “get well soon.”

Flip it round, what better way to gain some respect and sympathy than soldiering on through your daily routine with brash disregard for your own (or others…) health? You cannot help but empathise.

This effect carries through academics to lifestyle and appearance. Spend all day in bed, binge watch, wear the same pyjamas night and day for a week. It is a rare luxury to have such consistent sedentary behaviour, poor hygiene and total self-centeredness praised and accepted. Illness is fleeting social loophole, spinning societal constraints on their axis.  

Arguably most important is that, at some point, you’re going to get better. Over-suffocating-congestion and fields of Kleenex is a horizon, a door back to the everyday vitality you took for granted. Casual disease provides a character building hardship for the everyday college undergraduate. There no need to escape the campus bubble, this is an opportunity that can come to you: fit into that cramped New Hall single and share your schedule. Take some medicine, settle in, and enjoy the ride.

Happy Valentine’s Day From the Field: Jillian and Marshall


Written by Aeryn McMurtry

Junior Jillian Barnard and senior Marshall Hodge make up one of RC’s most friendly and sporty couples. They met two and a half years ago during soccer preseason before regular move-in their first year at the college and have been together ever since. Barnard and Hodge both play soccer for the Maroons, and though they specialize in different positions, watching each other play has made them both think outside the box and try new things on the field. “One of the most important parts about playing a sport is constantly trying to improve yourself, even during the off-season, and Jillian keeps me motivated to be better,” Hodge said.

Aside from soccer and classes, Barnard and Hodge are both RA’s on campus, meaning they have consistently busy schedules. “We aren’t always interacting, but knowing that that person is there and we’re accomplishing whatever task we need to gives me a sense of security,” Barnard says. During the offseason in spring, Barnard and Hodge get an extra hour of downtime and enjoy spending it together watching Netflix, grabbing coffee, and doing activities around campus. “When we aren’t being lazy, we like to do typical Roanoke College things like go to Mill Mountain and check out different events on campus like basketball games and the Amanda Knox speech,” says Hodge.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the couples on campus and a special Happy Valentine’s to Jillian and Marshall!