September 11, 2008
By Jason Rafferty, Norfolk, MA

Music and celebration: A pair that is irresistible to even the coldest of critics. I’d like to relive with you a day of passion and music, of art and expression, of dancing, madness, laughter and joy. Such things are what I live for.

The day began like a slow train, its wheels turning ever-so-slightly yet soon to build vast momentum. I had been scheduled to meet a group of three friends at our high school to meet for the sake of our school’s video production program, hang out, and maybe make a video or something. These were once-weekly meetings scheduled over the summer. Sadly though, I found the meeting had been cancelled, but nonetheless summoned the three to my house to figure out something to do. We’d played music before; Adrian on Keyboard (organ), Brandon on bass, Chris on Harmonica, myself on drums or guitar. Brandon brought with him a laptop to record as I instructed. At eleven a.m. we submerged quietly into the basement, preparing to transcend. The plan was to play song after song, with each one defined only by the musical genre to which the sound belonged. Lyrics would be improvised, as would almost everything else. Breaks would be seldom and take place whenever needed. And so began the madness.

Blues and rock started the scene, visceral and permeating, gruff and primal. Stick to the drum with a two-four beat, and the exploration commenced with piano and harmonica intertwining over 12-bar blues bass. Vamping up, the melodies and ideas grew progressively more profound, thumping now with more insistence, speeding faster and faster to match the intensifying beat. Four musicians; one wavelength. Life illuminated that small-town basement and we played the blues like cave-men.

Taking the electric guitar, I led us into the next production: an easy-flowing piece of mystic, modal notation paired with drums to keep me on the ground. Musical poetry and repetition, we later titled this one, “Jazzy Thing.” It was the timeless pinnacle of all my guitar productions, it flowed pure, cool and easy like a slow-drifting river.

Taking a short break, I had to hustle my brother over back to the school for a sax lesson. Flying out the door, I gunned over to the school and delivered him and got back with hyper-speed; I was Neal Cassady in On the Road. By the time of my return, the musicians had covered the genres of gospel, funk, and soul, and hands were being clapped amidst shared “hallelujahs” and such.

We then launched into a Doors-esque rocker that drove me, the Jim Morrison disciple, straight through the roof. Drumming and chanting and shamanistic dancing, the rock permeated deep into our souls. The cave-walls lit up with laughter and life, and I cried out like a madman. Harmonica moaned and roared like a speeding night-train as it interplayed wildly with the organ’s deep, insistent melodies. The energy state quickly turned into one of collective madness. On we rode, and we were pioneers in the waning sun.
“I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.”
-Jim Morrison
Later now, we walked in the moonlight and upon our return to the den, recorded a beatific recital of an eleven-page poem that I had written prior, with the existential odes accompanied of course by bongo and a touch of acoustic notation. You couldn’t help but smile, serene in this night of our youth. And so ended the day of revelry, with stars scattered bright in the sky; three men left, bound for home.
That is all, my story is spent. The confines of this essay present a viable challenge for conveying one’s true person. It is hard to illustrate passion and desire for knowledge, growth, and experience within such a small boundary, so please accept my best efforts. I strive every day to learn and really partake in life, and I believe wholeheartedly in education. Not just a means to a job, education holds for me a much grander purpose; that is, being a foundation for one’s life. Education imparts profound growth which then acts as a source of strength for all of one’s endeavors. It is for this reason that I hope to bring my passion and creativity to your school.

The author's comments:
My take on the dreaded college essay.

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