Last Saturday, The Non-Prophets made their mark on Bowdoin’s student band scene with their debut performance at Reed House’s Fall Fest. The evening also included performances by En Jamb and Mistaken for Strangers.
The training of non-prophets follows a campus-wide return to in-person creative activities. With opportunities such as indoor concerts and access to Bowdoin Music Collective venues that had not been available during the pandemic, Bowdoin’s live music scene suffered. But when singer Tessa Frank ’23, singer Chris Ritter ’21, bassist Chapman Odlum ’22, guitarist Finn Bergquist ’22, pianist Gillian King ’22 and drummer Colter Adams ’24 returned to campus at the fall, they connected around their shared passion for music.
While some members have spent the year taking a hybrid of online and in-person courses, others have taken a leave of absence from academics. Ritter explained how this distance from Bowdoin has hampered many of the opportunities that come with an in-person experience.
âOdlum and I weren’t in school when we were in Colorado and we didn’t really have the opportunity to meet other musicians and play with other musicians,â Bergquist said. “It’s so much fun to be able to play with other people again.”
Odlum echoed this positive sentiment regarding the resumption of performance in person.
âIt’s addicting,â he says. âYou are on stage and you almost feel like a different person; your inner rockstar can come out.
Performing on stage in different groups at the start of the semester is what brought most of the group together. Frank and Odlum are members of the acapella group BOCA, while Ritter is part of Ursus Versus. Additionally, Adams also stars in another student band, Mistaken for Strangers.
“[Acapella] translates well in many ways. We have two singers and adding harmonies is really cool, even though they weren’t in the original song, âsaid Ritter.
Frank also pointed out how the dynamics of a group allow for more individuality.
âIn acapella, you’re supposed to really blend in with the band,â Frank said. “I want to go in the group, you have a little more personal flair.”
Ritter, who performed in student groups before and during the pandemic, spoke about how last Saturday’s performance compared to his experiences in the pre-COVID era.
“[Performing at Fall Fest] was so surreal because it’s not just my friends here supporting me, they’re complete strangers, âsaid Ritter. âI love that people really like to rock, because as a performer it makes things more fun; it allows me to perform better.
While performing on stage in other musical groups was at the heart of the group’s formation, it was also impromptu connections on the Bowdoin campus that brought the members together.
âWe’re just getting started, but I feel like what initially brought us together was the same vision of how we want to play music,â Ritter said.
Adams also pointed out that despite their varied ties to music, the group was able to connect.
âWe all have similar tastes, even though we come from different musical backgrounds,â Adams said.
In their first performance, the group played a mix of pop, R&B and alternative songs.
âWe play everything from John Mayer to Frank Ocean,â Odlum said. “So it’s not like there’s a genre that we stick to, but these are songs that we love.”
After the excitement of their first performance, Adams stressed from his perspective as a drummer that he had high hopes for the group.
âLooking at it from the back section, they have such amazing chemistry,â he said.