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SENIOR COLUMN: Appreciating Tuscaloosa’s creations

Katie Huff, Photo submitted

Katie Huff

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I constantly have a widespread stomach-turning feeling from the inevitable fact that I will never hear every song, or even every musician. I live in non stop fear that there is a song or band that I’ll never experience, but lies in the middle of my musical preferences, encapsulating a variety of sounds, like a Courtney Barnett-esque clanging guitar, Slowdive style shoegaze, Hop Along’s texturized storytelling, LCD Soundsystem’s cultural revitalization, SZA’s unmatchable honesty or Vulfpeck’s funk, to put it briefly. 

Maybe it’s ok that I haven’t found that equilibrium of music yet, if it’s possible, because I get to experience the sounds as individuals and fully dive into their nuances and the varied stimuli to crafting music that sometimes makes my heart ache because of its hold on me. 

When I walk on the Quad, a similar fleeting feeling fills me with butterflies as I pass students that I’ve never known. Our paths have just never crossed, but they’ve crafted a space for themselves in Tuscaloosa. That’s the thing about Tuscaloosa; it’s ready to find a space for you and introduce you to ideas, people, feelings and experiences that you weren’t sure you needed.   

I don’t want to sound trite in writing this because being overtly nostalgic or preachy doesn’t sound fun, but Tuscaloosa and UA house the resources that allow for us to make something, whatever it is that you want to make. You can have an idea and see if it floats with minimal repercussions. It’s a bubble that holds the most interesting and creative, sometimes almost mad scientist level, individuals that create a vast culture that expands and encompasses so much.

There is a plethora of examples of areas of campus coming together to make works of art. Dance Alabama began the Dance Alabama Film Festival, which allows students to act as choreographers, dancers, cinematographers and composers to create truly remarkable feats of storytelling. 

Tuscaloosa is a breeding ground for student bands, especially with venues like Green Bar, Alcove and Egan’s that provide a space and an audience. Those bands helped me to find a way to create essentially a love letter to the Tuscaloosa music scene, which is something I owe a lot to. With that being said, go to Jazz Tuesdays at Alcove, another example of the Tuscaloosa community allowing space for experimentation. 

Being a supporter of the music scene has resulted in the meeting of some of the most impeccable teachers of how to love music and how to talk about it. I’ve grown in my understanding of how to define music in my life; I think of it almost as a person that can encircle me and provide for me in any given moment, in ecstatic times, in terrifying times, and in-between. 

I’m about to be so cheesy, but I’ve accepted it so you have to deal with it too. While you take the chance to create something, whether that be an AVTC vehicle with EcoCAR, or an art magazine like Marr’s Field Journal, or a student advocacy group like Not On My Campus, find out what other people are creating and support it. What you can learn from partaking in the support of other students is astounding and you’ll be blown away by the people that live a block away from you. 

Also, you’ll probably meet people your senior year that you wish you always knew and it will feel like you did, but just let it happen and enjoy the fact that you met them.

I don’t really have any reason to be leaving a parting message or telling what I’ve learned, so this is more of an ode to the people I’ve met, the people I haven’t met, the songs I’ve listened to, the songs that have been shared with me, and the live music I’ve heard that have altered my time and understanding of how to be in a community, so thanks y’all. 

Katie Huff is a senior majoring in public relations and Italian. 

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SENIOR COLUMN: Appreciating Tuscaloosa’s creations