Thursday, October 24, 2013

Groove at the Grove

Robert Little- San Francisco, CA

“And this ten room house, built in 1902, was put up for auction,” I beam at the 10 am tour group.  “Inside it features all antique furniture.  Pitzer students convinced the city of Claremont to put the house up for auction.  Students and a professor showed up to the auction, bid, and won the house.  Any guesses on how much we paid for it?” I ask with a grin.  “You bought it in the 1970s?” a parent asks.  “Probably $80,000?” “$5,000!” a student adds.  “Kind of close.  Well no, not really.  We bought it for a dollar.”  Reactions to the statement are always mixed – a combination of acute shock, collection of shrugs, and the occasional follow up question – “Well, how much did it cost to move the house to Pitzer?”

I refer to the grove house as a Pitzer student’s “home away from home.”  Complete with ten or so rooms, a fireplace, and the tastiest homemade cookies that keeps graduates coming back, a Pitzer student can spend their whole day at the Grove House, and consider it very well spent.  Aside from the story slams, the peculiar purple pickles, and occasional guitar player on the porch who knows more than four chords and is worth listening to, I find myself frequenting the Grove House after the sun has set.

One of the most enjoyable jobs I have at Pitzer is working as an Event Staff manager.  This line of work has me managing multi-thousand dollar soundboards, dancing backstage with band members, and of course, playing my favorite tunes in between sets (you can tell I have potential when my mini DJ set gets the crowd moving with “Dance Yrself Clean” better than a live band called “Merry Christmas").  Although I have the opportunity to work some of Pitzer’s biggest parties, like “Kohoutek” and “Earthquake,” I often opt for a more stressful, yet fulfilling bi-weekly Groove at the Grove.

First started in the Pitzer orange grove to celebrate the harvest season for fresh PZ oranges, Groove at the Grove is a regularly occurring party at the foot of the Grove House porch.  Artists run the gamut, from professional acoustic punk artists (check out the October 11th Barry Johnson videos on YouTube, you might see me!) to first time student performances.  All Groove at the Grove events are always open to students from all five colleges in addition to the greater Claremont/ LA community. 

Groove at the Grove exemplifies what Pitzer is all about.  Students contact artists, or organize to feature student clubs or bands themselves.  They hire student Event Staff workers to manage the sound, employ New Resource Students to serve beer to students over 21, and celebrate aspects like the season for ripe oranges, which most communities would overlook.  Whether gathered for an intimate evening to support friends explore their creative side, or ready to celebrate the weekend and dance on the trash can that you tossed your food scraps into after lunch earlier that day, the Grove House and Groove at the Grove are undeniably and uniquely Pitzer. 

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