When you walk down the hall of the Music Appreciation special interest floor in Ramer Hall, you might see a resident walking around strumming his guitar, hear another practicing a recorder in his room, or encounter a small ensemble practicing for the floor’s Christmas party. More often than not, there is a tune in the air, giving the floor a warm and friendly atmosphere.
The 20 students who live on the Music Appreciation Floor, commonly known as MAFia, share a common interest in music. Many are involved in musical ensembles on campus, although that is not a requirement for living on the floor.
“The only criteria for living on the floor is that you need to show an honest interest in music and a desire to promote it both on and off campus,” says music major and MAFia president Alex Cutrone ’13 (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.).
The residents of MAFia listen to and play music, attend concerts on and off campus, and participate in discussions about music with visiting artists. This year, MAFia has hosted a pre-orientation barbeque for the pep band, attended a pre-concert workshop and concert with Latin jazz drummer Dafnis Prieto at the Williams Center, and attended the College Marching Band Festival in Allentown.
Members also try to promote music appreciation to the campus community. For example, each year in November, MAFia sponsors a Lip-Sync/Air-Band competition. Last year, the competition raised about $300 for the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
“When I moved onto the floor this year, I hoped to expand my knowledge of music. So far, I have learned more about styles that I already knew I liked in addition to being exposed to new music that I would not have encountered on my own. Also, the living environment is very open, communal, and friendly,” says MAFia resident and events coordinator Brendan Flood ’13 (Exton, Pa.). An electrical and computer engineering major, he plays drums and bass guitar and is a member of the Pep, Band, Concert Band, and Percussion Ensemble.
The floor started in the 2008-09 academic year. Michael Follet ’11 (Lebanon, Pa.), a math major who has been involved in several musical groups on campus, was one of MAFia’s founders.
“Most of us were involved with the music programs at Lafayette, or had participated in music programs in high school, so we figured that would be the perfect common bond that we could base our floor’s theme around,” says Follett, who plays the flute and piccolo in Concert Band, Pep Band, and Chamber Ensemble, and has participated in the pit orchestra for the Marquis Players.
“It was just terrific to live on a floor that was entirely made up of 20 of my best friends on campus,” Follett says. “The sense of community that we established was unlike anything that I would have ever expected possible coming into college.”