Cherubs make musical memories

Anna Brodsky (right) and Abby Murphy (left) sing along to piano music played by Julia Robbins (middle). Photo by Alex Feng

In East Fairchild’s common rooms, cherubs hold surprise birthday parties, late-night writing sessions and nightly sing-alongs.

Isabella Werneck, of Rio de Janeiro, began the trend by taking her guitar outside her room and strumming popular melodies. People joined her and requested songs, so she would search for chords on her phone and play.

The musical meetings, generally on the third floor, helped cherubs relieve stress after days of deadlines and added to the fun to the program, Werneck said.

Julia Robbins of New York City, a self-taught musician, sings and plays piano, guitar and ukulele.

“I’m an average singer, and I can do basic chords,” Robbins said. “So, I can play songs that people would know how to sing along to, which I think is really what’s important about instruments.”

Robbins warns against asking her to play Mozart, but she said can handle “Our Song” by Taylor Swift, which her friends love to belt out.

Not all musical cherubs play pop songs that can be accompanied by raucous singing, though. Alex Feng of Palo Alto, California, is a classical pianist who tickles the ivories in East Fairchild’s main lounge.

“It’s like building community,” Feng said. “There’s an insane collection of general musical talent.”

The cherubs said their sing-alongs are more than just an opportunity to appreciate music. Anna Brodsky of Los Angeles said the warmth and inclusivity of the sing-alongs gave cherubs the opportunity to connect on an emotional level.

“I haven’t found it difficult to sing with other people just because I feel like this is a really supportive and accepting community,” Brodsky said. “I never really felt like I was being judged for my lack of skills. It was just nice to be a part of the group.”

They would even come together to relax on nights before deadlines, Werneck said.

“It helped me create friendships right from the very start,” Werneck said. “It’s always good to have music around the halls, and it’s good to see people come out of their comfort zones and sing along with us.”

Singing with friends gave cherubs memories and the confidence to share their musical skills, which is fairly intimate, Robbins said.

“I’ve never been in an environment where so many people come together and just sing, so I think that is unique to cherubs,” Robbins said.