Nobody said it was easy being a pop-star: a lunch hour concert spotlight

Every Monday afternoon at 12:30 p.m., if you have a moment to spare, stopping by Parrish Parlors is the best way to relax and introduce yourself to the musical talent the Swarthmore community has to offer. As one passes through the hallways of Parrish, it’s impossible not to feed your curiosity and take a peek inside the parlors to see who’s playing. Gathered in the “piano room,” some sit on the couches working on their last-minute assignments (such as myself), unable to resist the urge to watch a free performance. Others simply lounge on the floor, taking a break from their day to support their fellow Swatties. Despite the attentiveness of those in the room, the pressure of a formal concert is practically null; with no expectations, everyone is there just to have a good time and forget their troubles.

These performances were established this year by the department of music and dance to encourage students and faculty to display their musical prowess. The concert that took place this Monday was only the fifth of the series, following performances by the Jasper String Quartet, Asher Wolf ’18, Professor Andrew Hauze, and Alice Dong and Jack Rubien. Following this concert, there will be three more performances before Thanksgiving Break led by Joshua Mundinger ’18, Lily Wushanley ’18, and a trio with Kevin Lai ’18, Kyle Yee ’19, and Berlin Chen ’19.

This week, to start off the second half of the semester, David Wimble ’18, Navdeep Maini ’19, and Franz Chee ’21 took the opportunity to make their first official debut together. Sitting in the middle of the room, cozily set up behind their stands and sheets of music and lyrics, all three were radiating enthusiasm. As soon as the clock hit 12:30, the trio launched into their first cover, “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. With Navdeep’s casual guitar licks effortlessly cutting through the silence of the Parlors and David’s soothing acoustic guitar accompaniment harmonizing along with him. Meanwhile, Franz carried the song with his melodious voice, not straining as he enjoyed himself in his blissful moment. The next six songs continued in similar fashion, with a couple minor hiccups along the way. Navdeep took the lead with his vocals in his rendition of “Say it Ain’t So” by Weezer, David let his baritone voice ring in the song “21 Guns” by Green Day, Franz channeled his inner Frank Sinatra playing the piano for the song “Island in the Sun” by Weezer, and they concluded with the song that started it all, “The Scientist” by Coldplay.

Later in the evening, I took the opportunity to interview the three musicians regarding their performance during the concert. However, I first investigated their “origin story” as a group. Jokingly, Franz initially declared that they were all childhood friends before clarifying himself.

“I didn’t know any of these people until like, six weeks ago,” Franz Chee ‘21 said

Ironically,the Parrish parlors has become a hub of inspiration for these three musicians. One night, Franz and Navdeep bonded in the parlors talking about music, specifically the band Weezer. They decided that they would jam out together one Saturday night, during which David heard their rendition of Coldplay’s The Scientist and decided to join in on the fun.

“I honestly just felt like playing the piano and I go down some stairs and their playing The Scientist, or they’re just starting, and I’m like, ‘Ooh, I know this song’. So I start playing with them, and then we play some other songs” said David ‘18.

When the sign-ups for the lunch hour concert ceries were announced during Fall Break, they decided that they had absolutely nothing to lose.

“About a week ago, me and David had our first practice for this concert thing. Us three had our first practice together two days ago! So, we had two total practices,” said Navdeep Maini ’19, chuckling.

Afterwards, I asked them about how they did throughout their performance.

“Okay,” said Franz ’21. “Some of the songs I didn’t really know”. Looking towards Navdeep and David and giggling, he continued, “Like, I’d be singing with y’all, and like, I don’t know, you had a thing, like, you didn’t really have to say stuff, like, you both are good at singing…I kinda ruined your duo.”   Navdeep recalled, “I remember [for “Island in the Sun”], you had the ‘hip, hips’ in the wrong place.”

“Really? During the actual concert?”, asked Franz Chee ’21 as we all bursted out laughing.

“I screwed the “Say it Ain’t So” solo, like so much…so much,” responded Navdeep Maini.

“And I started “21 Guns” in the wrong key,” said David.

Regardless, as I was observing their performances, these mistakes were hardly noticeable, as it seemed as if the three men were simply having a blast. Although Franz suggested that he was simply performing for fun, he went ahead and asked the most valuable question of the night for Navdeep and David: What are your aspirations as a musician?

“[Mainly] music education, because I want to teach,” said David Wimble ’18, the sole music major in the group.

“One of my goals is to write a pop song. But like an actual, catchy, good pop song,” responded Navdeep, a music minor.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to see them this Monday, Navdeep and David will be dressed as nerds doing a Weezer cover show at the Loud and Underground concert taking place this Friday from at Olde Club. Franz may also, have a guest appearance for the undisputed classic, “Island in the Sun”. In addition, make sure to check out the next lunch hour concert.

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