Oberlin Blogs

TIMARA Thursdays

May 27, 2022

Claire O’Brocta ’23

This semester, Thursdays have become my TIMARA days. Not that the other days of the week aren’t too! You can find me in the TIMARA basement at least once a day, Monday through Friday. Being down there all the time is one of my favorite changes from last year, when in-person classes were few and far between, and people didn’t hang in our lounge at all. These days remind me more of my first year and a half at Oberlin, when the basement was always bustling with both classes and congregating students.

The thing that makes Thursdays different from my other TIMARA days this semester is that I’m in the department pretty much all day long. All three of my Thursday classes are there, plus my job. Let me walk you through my day!

My Thursday schedule starts at 11am with TECH 332: Advanced Audio Recording. It’s in the most locked down room in the basement, Studio 1. Just getting to that class requires swiping your ID card to get into the Conservatory, doing the same thing to get into the TIMARA department itself, putting in a six-digit code to unlock the studios, and using a physical key to open Studio 1 specifically. Whew! Once you get through that obstacle course, you end up in a half circle of chairs surrounding a 24-channel mixing board. In 332, we learn how to use the board, and practice setting up recording sessions that link Studio 1 and its neighbor through the window, Studio 2. It’s an 8-person class of mostly seniors, so it’s an ideal size for what we do, and super chill. To make it even better, many of my closest friends are in that class with me. All of them are graduating, so this class is a great opportunity to spend time with them before they’re gone.

After a quick lunch break, I go to where I’ll spend the next two hours: my job at the TIMARA gear depot. The gear depot houses audio equipment that majors, as well as other students in TIMARA classes, can check out to use for class projects and recitals. We have speakers, microphones, projectors, cameras, hundreds of cables, and more! I help students find the gear they need, formally check it out to them with an online system, and return it back to the depot when they’re done. Since it’s the end of the semester and several final projects and recitals are happening, the depot’s been extra busy lately. These days, the job involves a significant amount of coordination, especially since multiple students will often want the same piece of gear for their projects. Luckily, I’m always up for the challenge.

Work ends at 3:30, and I get my second break of the day. I usually just stay in the basement and hang out on the couch or one of the comfy chairs, because this break is only a half hour long. At 4, I have rehearsal for the Oberlin Synthesizer Ensemble. This ensemble takes place in Studio 4, the analog synth studio. Usually, we all hop on a different synth, and we make recordings together. Why recordings? Since the synths are pretty much bound to the studio, live performances aren’t very feasible. Instead, we’re making an album! We tend to do most of our recordings on Wednesday (since our Wednesday rehearsals are longer), and leave Thursdays for more logistical things. This past Thursday was a little different, because we got photographed! After taking some rapid tests, we just had to act naturally and play synths. It was definitely different from all of our other rehearsals, but a cool experience nonetheless.

My last class on my TIMARA Thursdays is studio class. The primary purpose of this class is for us to share what we’re working on with our fellow TIMARA majors, whether it’s a work in progress we want feedback on, or something finished that we’re proud of. Since every TIMARA major does something so entirely different, it’s a great time to get a little taste of everything that’s possible. If we have extra time after people have shared, studio class can turn into many other things. Sometimes we have discussions about challenges we encounter as musicians, other times we go outside and play frisbee together, or it could be anything in between. Studio class can be as freeform as TIMARA itself, and it’s honestly one of the things I love most about the major.

Last Thursday (May 19th) was somehow even more TIMARA than usual. As soon as I left studio class, I grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then I was off to back-to-back rehearsals for two of my friends’ senior recitals. First up was Tempest’s. This was still a week before Tempest’s recital, so we just rehearsed a few pieces. On one of the pieces, I was playing a milk frother and Altoids container together as an instrument, which was not only extremely TIMARA of me, but also very fun. After Tempest’s rehearsal was the final dress for Michael’s senior recital. I wasn’t playing in Michael’s, but I was in charge of technical production, and got to live queue all of the video, fixed media audio, and lights. The dress rehearsal went well, and by the end, we were confident that the recital on Saturday night would be amazing (spoiler alert, it was).

At midnight, we finally went home, and my TIMARA Thursday had come to an end. Now, the semester itself is ending, and with it, my TIMARA Thursdays as a whole! I’ve had multiple themed Thursdays in my time at Oberlin (you can read about my semester of co-op Thursdays in this blog), which makes me wonder what will come for that day of the week in the future. I still have two more semesters at Oberlin, after all, and with those, plenty of Thursdays!

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