Making music in the Kent State dorms

Nicole Stempak

Mark Chesnes, sophomore computer science major, plays his guitar in Lake Hall. Chesnes said he’s recently been listening to Devendra Banhart. LESLIE L. CUSANO | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

They had nothing in common before this year except that they lived in the same wing.

But five guys on Lake Hall’s third floor soon discovered they had something else in common: music.

Sophomore exploratory major Marcus Ward began meeting people when he was walking down the hallway and heard music emanating from rooms.

“I’ll stop and ask ‘What kind of guitar do you play?’ and that leads to other discussions about bands, genres – everything,” he said.

While there aren’t any music majors on the floor, the fact that many residents play guitar isn’t uncommon, said resident assistant and fellow guitar player Jacob Roope.

Roope estimates there are seven musicians on each floor, for a total of 28 musicians in the building.

Mark Chesnes, sophomore computer science major, recently met some neighbors while he was playing “Turkey in the Straw,” a folk song, on his mandolin.

A couple of freshmen football players came in asking if he was playing a ukulele, he said. The players quickly became interested in learning more about the mandolin, such as its strings, role and origins.

“They came in with a joking attitude, like they were going to make fun of me, but then they changed their tone about it,” Chesnes said.

Sam Bennett, sophomore business management major, is another musician who lives in Lake Hall. He often plays his seven string, dark blue electric guitar Friday nights in the lounge.

But one time, Bennett was asked to turn the music down in his room as he was learning to play “Hotel California.”

“My RA (Roope) came to see what I was playing and said, ‘It’s nice to see people who actually play good music,’ but told me to turn it down,” he said. “I understand why he told me to turn it down, though.”

Roope said that while “you can’t please everyone, you can be respectful and courteous.

“Basically, the rules regulate noise in general to give residents freedom, but also to ensure peace in the residence halls,” he said.

Overall, Chesnes enjoys the atmosphere of the hall.

“Even across the floor there’s a wide-range of music,” Chesnes said. “You can walk down our hallway and hear country, R&B and alternative rock.”

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Nicole Stempak at [email protected]