Oberlin Blogs

Pick-Me-Up Events

March 30, 2022

Ariel Roberts ’25

It’s midterms again, meaning we’re all just trying to get through this one jam-packed week until it’s time for spring break, and then before we know it, the wrapping up of the semester. Amid the stress and studying, though, Oberlin has plenty of fun events to help you take a break and give you that serotonin boost you need for the final stretch. Today I’m recounting some of my favorite events that helped me unwind from school-related stress.

Oberlin Jazz Ensemble

Last semester, on the weekend before midterms, I had been stressed with my upcoming assessments and other various responsibilities, wondering if I should stay in to study or go out and do something to unwind. When I saw that the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble was going to perform, I decided to take some time for myself and go see their show, as I had heard great things about them and had been wanting to see them for some time. I’m so glad I decided to go, because they did not disappoint.

I shuffled into a pew in Finney Chapel, looking at the instruments on stage and bright red banners reading “Oberlin Jazz Ensemble.” I looked over the program, noticing some familiar songs, but many unfamiliar. I don’t know much about jazz, and I can’t say it’s a top genre on my Spotify. Regardless, I heard great reviews about the Jazz Ensemble and of course already knew how incredible the talent is at the Conservatory. Some titles, such as “Sway” and “Feet Bone,” promised uncontrollable foot tapping and dancing, and, sure enough, as the ensemble entered the stage and the music began to fill the room, I was lost in the groove and jive!

Every member of the ensemble gave an incredible solo at some point throughout the set, getting some well-deserved spotlight to showcase their musical expertise and give their own stylistic renditions. I was completely blown away by the outpouring of talent on that stage, and loved the community that was felt even in that one performance. I was particularly struck by the vibraphone or “vibes” player. I never even considered that someone could freestyle a solo on a xylophone-esque instrument, but there she was, killing it! The singer was also a great addition to a few of the songs, and her beautiful voice truly enhanced the carefree feel of the night. There’s really nothing better than live music engulfing a room and drowning out your worries.

After the jazz music uplifted my soul, I was reminded of the positive: all I needed to do was get through that one week, and then it was Fall Break. The concert was so entertaining and lively, a reminder to do things you enjoy and to look for the good in life. I highly recommend attending one of the various concerts around campus if you need a pick-me-up!


The limbo between Fall Break and Winter Break is a tough time when you know you just have a few weeks to push through until you get a breather again; the break seems so close and yet so far away! When it was finally the last week before Winter Break, I was using all my patience to push through the final stretch, stressed with not only school work but also gathering Christmas presents and finalizing holiday plans. I heard that OCircus was about to perform, though; their program was titled “Into the Deep,” promising a dive into the ocean on the cold winter’s night. So I walked over to Hales Gym, found myself a seat, and waited for the show to begin.

Blue lights marbled the walls of the gym like the ocean floor, ambient sounds of water playing through the speakers. When the show actually began, we were briefly moved outside for the fire-juggling act! When you usually see people juggling fire, they seem like they’ve had years of training, so it was even more impressive to see someone my own age pull off the feat! That was only the beginning, though, of the awe I would experience throughout the night! 

The acts continued with aerial silk, lyra, rope, and juggling, reaching daring heights and showcasing incredible athletic and performative talent. The show told a cute story of a child losing their stuffed octopus on the beach and sea creatures helping them get it back. The aerial silks were green like seaweed, and the performers were dressed as colorful sea creatures and mischievous pirates. More than anything, the show was just so much fun to watch, and so cool to know that OCircus is a club anyone can join. You could really tell the hard work they put into their various acts, and I’m sure it must have been so great to finally put on the show. It really was what I needed to get me through those last days until Winter Break!

A Capella Study Break

The A Capella Study Break happens every semester and is meant to help students unwind and have a fun night amid the stress of midterms. At the event, Oberlin’s various a capella groups come together and use their voices to spread some pre-break cheer. I actually attended the event for the first time this semester, and was surprised to find Dye Lecture Hall packed with students waiting for the singing to begin.

The various groups, The Acapelicans, Pitch Please, The Obertones, Nothing But Treble, and ’Round Midnight showcased their incredible talents through infectiously-arranged medleys and songs. All of their styles were unique, and their voices blended wonderfully, leading to an all-around lively and entertaining night. I loved the Acapelicans’ Avril Lavigne medley, and Nothing but Treble’s rendition of Bad Romance was particularly catchy and impressive. Pitch Please had great energy and awesome harmonies. I saw ’Round Midnight’s winter concert, and at this event they were just as good as earlier in the year. The Obertones are actually releasing an album soon, and they clearly proved why. I’m definitely gonna have to check their album out (it’ll be on various streaming platforms if you want to check it out too)! All of the groups’ renditions were super fun and had the crowd loud with excitement. Their performances truly were the cure for academic stress.

Whenever I’m overwhelmed with school work, I check out the event calendar, because there’s always something going on around campus that can be the pick-me-up I need!

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