REUNION

Oxford Dictionary definition:

noun. /ˌriːˈjuːniən/ /ˌriːˈjuːniən – a social occasion or party attended by a group of people who have not seen each other for a long time

From NonProfitPRO.com

An institution’s alumni are a reflection of its past, a representation of its present and a link to its future. An alumni reunion is a memorable event where attendees can relive the past by getting nostalgic and reminiscing about the good old days with former classmates

A reunion allows conversations about life stories and choices made throughout life. 

The link with alma mater is important, from graduation to the end of life. Institutions need alumni to provide time, talent, and treasure. Schools want alumni to consider returning to their alma mater to learn more, recommend future students, give resources, employ graduates and a host of positive engagement factors. Meanwhile alumni want their alma mater to stay in touch to learn about future events, stay connected with faculty, learn about institutional progress, ensure continual communication with classmates and more. 

At a certain stage of life, it is all about having the chance to celebrate life. At my last high school reunion, I thanked my best friend for his role, so many years ago, in making my high school years extra special.     

At first you wonder who all these old people are, until you realize you are one of them.

NOSTALGIA

Cambridge Dictionary definition:

noun. /nəˈstældʒə/ , /nɑˈstældʒə – a feeling of sadness mixed with pleasure and affection when you think of happy times in the past 

Oxford Dictionary definition:

a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Bill, Jim, Kelly, and Di – Dartmouth ’88 friends for life…

Then and now – Laura, Phil, Val, and Bill, Dartmouth College football cheer pals, Memorial Field 1986 or 1987, and the Bema 2024… Nostalgia…

The memories we make in our childhood are the ones we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

The mud and dirt will wash off, but the childhood memories will last a lifetime.

In childhood, we press our noses to the pane, looking out. In childhood memories, we press our noses to the pane, looking in.

robert brault

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

Robert brault

Nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

oxford dictionary

Perhaps no one can invoke a greater sense of nostalgia for Dartmouth than good old Daniel Webster:

It is, sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it.

Daniel webster

Or perhaps Eddie and the Cruisers can help reminisce:

Hey man, you got some fine college here, All the advantages, You got Ivory walls, lecture halls, full dressed balls…

Eddie

Our reunion was steeped in nostalgia. We had such a variety of structured activities to reconnect and recollect in so many ways, including hiking, biking, kayaking, meditation, yoga, a variety of talks, including from our esteemed president of the college, Sian Leah Bellock, comedian extraordinaire Rachel Dratch, Moth Talks, college updates, meeting with and hearing from faculty, including our own Tim Ambrose, service events, a memorial service, Baker Bell Tower tours, evening  ‘tails and socials, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, bands, music and dancing, including our famed silent disco. There was something for everyone. And with such a great turnout many of us were able to catch up with and just enjoy spending time in the presence of old friends, as well as making new friends.

Remember the NonProfitPRO.com description of the purpose of reunions:

The link with alma mater is important, from graduation to the end of life. Institutions need alumni to provide time, talent, and treasure. Schools want alumni to consider returning to their alma mater to learn more, recommend future students, give resources, employ graduates and a host of positive engagement factors. Meanwhile alumni want their alma mater to stay in touch to learn about future events, stay connected with faculty, learn about institutional progress, ensure continual communication with classmates and more. 

And that is exactly what we did. And did it with zeal and joy! Such an amazing, energizing, therapeutic weekend, recalling stories and memories of the past, updates of our journeys to the present, and hopes for the future, so comforting to the soul.

At Dartmouth, how lucky were we to have such a beautiful campus, great outdoors, with personal, intimate attention and inspiration from professors, in addition to the ability to develop strong bonds of friendship, with memories of events to last a lifetime. We have much to be nostalgic of and reminisce about. And a reunion is the perfect place to do so, spending time with those with whom we shared such intense relationships.

In my personal life, the warm glow of nostalgia amplifies good memories and minimizes bad ones about experiences and relationships, encouraging us to revisit and renew our ties with friends and family.

stephanie coontz

When I think back on my senior year of college, I remember not a day passing without having absolute fun with my friends, whether it was cheerleading practice or games, with road-tripping to the other Ivies; working out at the gym; sharing a meal, including wings at Hoveys, chicken sandwiches or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Topside, frozen yogurt with mix-ins at the Hop, EBA’s chicken sandwich or all-you-can-eat pasta, C&A’s pizza, margarita night at Bentleys; playing cards on the Green or late at night in Wheeler; listening to music or late night talks and debates with friends; late-night bowling, usually when the next day there were papers due or exams to study for; rambling along frat row for Friday and Saturday parties; just daily all-around goodness and fun. Though such nostalgia fails to acknowledge the long hours of studying, time spend in classes, interpersonal drama – those things get pushed from our memory for the most part, recalling all that was pure and good and fun. And so should it be. Life is too short to dwell on the tough times, apart from learning from them, and to not recall, cherish and celebrate the good.

Music evokes many feelings, memories, nostalgia, and things connected to our past. – Olga Kurylenko.

olga kurylenko

Again, music definitely evokes feelings, memories, and notalgia, and things connected to our past – such wonderful shared music – so many songs can bring me and my friends right back to special moments in time, to other people, places, and events, sharing a park bench quietly, such feelings of nostalgia, exuding feelings of warmth, comfort, and goodness – so therapeutic. Many of us had such moments at the reunion, and left elated, recharched, energized to continue to wage the good fight, to pursue work of meaning and purpose, to make a difference, to take on the world, and to just rock on!

Old friends
Sat on their park bench like bookends…

…Can you imaging us years from today.
Sharing a park bench quietly?…

…Old friends…

simon & garfunkel

Softly now the early twilight
Thro’ the trees is stealing down,​
And the evening blush is falling
O’er the college and the town.​
Come and gather on the campus,​
Make the gray old maples ring
With the songs of Alma Mater,​
With the songs we love to sing.​

For the dear old college home, boys,​
For the happy, happy days;​
For our glorious Alma Mater,​
Shake the campus with her praise.​

Brothers; while the shadows deepen,​
While we stand here heart to heart,​
Let us promise one another
In the silence ere we part.​
We will make our lives successful,​
We will keep our hands from shame
For the sake of dear old Dartmouth,​
And the honor of her name.​

twilight song

And while the disco may have been silent, we certainly weren’t, dancing on late into the night and early morning, some of us not getting to bed until well after 3 am!

My contribution was the mellow, a.k.a. lame, 35th Reunion Dartmouth Class of 88 Chillin’ Vibe Playlist. Its intent was to offer a little more mellow fare for those who wanted to wind down and relax. Silly idea, lol! People wanted to dance and rock.

In creating my playlist, I wanted music released or hitting the charts during our college years, 1984-1988, somewhat the pulse of those 4 years. I didn’t want it to be love songs or music to put you to sleep, so there was a fine line on song selection. Many songs had great meaning during our 4 years, evoking feelings, memories, and notalgia, and things connected to <my> past, and though the song has ended, the melody lingers on:

“Under the Milky Way” – The Church – a new wave staple on cheerleading road trips along with:

“This Is The Day” – The The, and “Love My Way” – The Psychedelic Furs.

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” – Crowded House – released our senior year… and it was over…

“Purple Rain” – Prince – perhaps the biggest anthem of our college years.

“Drive” – The Cars – a song connecting me to my first love then end of high school.

“Forever Young” – Alphaville – this band and Erasure (though not on this list, give “A Little Respect,” “Chains of Love,” and “River Deep, Mountain High” a listen) were introduced to me by one of my besties, Phil.

“Red Red Wine” – UB40 – a moment in time at a Wellesley formal with my pal Clayton and cousin Jen.

“Romeo & Juliet” – Dire Straits – Leann drunkenly requesting Romiet & Julio on a cheerleading roadtrip, another LOVED staple of our travels, along with:

“Swamp” – Talking Heads – frosh year cheerleading road trips, Stop Making Sense movie on campus, such a fun song to sing along, we even had a cheerleader named Swamp…

“Darling Nikki” – Prince – invokes images of Jenna (RIP 😢) and Stephanie from my Wheeler UGA group belting out the lyrics to the song in their dorm room down the hall prior to going out to party: “I knew a girl named Nikki I guess you could say she was a sex fiend…”

“You Can Leave Your Hat On” – Joe Cocker – there is a legend about 2 guys stripping at a D Phi E formal…

And music conjures connections to movies as well:

“Take My Breath Away” – Berlin – Top Gun ring a bell?

“Crazy For You” – Madonna – Desperately Seeking Susan

“Who Wants To Live Forever” – Queen – Highlander

“We Don’t Need Another Hero” – Tina Turner – Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds – the biggest movie anthem ever – The Breakfast Club

And closing with “We Are The World,” the greatest assembly of rock and pop musicians in the history of music to record one song to save millions of lives from starvation in Africa. Be sure to watch the Netflix documentary The Greatest Night in Pop. It’s fantastic.

The silent disco was an amazing study in individual, couples, and group behavior. As I watched from the sideline making sure the music played on, I so enjoyed watching people find their song and rock on, even if different than their friends or partner’s selection. Most were rocking and bopping to the Blue or Green Playlists, where most of the action was happening. Though couples would occasionally spin off to the Red Chillin’ Vibe playlist to dance cheek to cheek to a slower song, such as “Careless Whisper,” “Bring On The Dancing Horses,” “Purple Rain,” “Drive,” or “Faithfully.” And then a few in the crowd would start a sing-along, and people would pull their headphones forward to match their color with the others in the crowd with a sea of Blue or Green singing and dancing to songs such as “Rock The Casbah,” “Livin’ On A Prayer,” “Always Something There To Remind Me,” “Modern Love,” “Karma Chameleon,” “Burning Down The House,” and “Take On Me,” among others.

Then I received requests to stray from the playlists and take requests, namely Prince’s “Kiss” and AC/DC’s “Back In Black” and other harder rock songs instead of the new wave and pop fare of the premade lists. So I ran an audible and started DJing at midnight, transforming the Red playlist to a DJ of hard rock and then dance hits, lighting the room red until 2 in the morning. It was beyond fun DJing, and watching the crowd, at times on their backs, legs in the air to the likes of “Rock Lobster” and “Shout,” and in general just grooving to and singing along with the music. What a blast – reveling in the ’80s today, our older and wiser selves still able to rock it, finding comfort and joy in the past, excitement and fun in the present, and hopes and dreams for the future. Nostalgia can truly warm the soul, lighten the spirit, and invigorate our very being.

Dartmouth, there is no music for our singing,​
No words to bear the burden of our praise,​
Yet how can we be silent and remember
The splendor and fullness of her days?​
Who can forget her soft September sunsets,​
Who can forget those hours that passed like dreams?​
The long cool shadows floating on the campus,​
The drifting beauty where the twilight streams?​


Who can forget her sharp and misty mornings,​
The clanging bells, the crunch of feet on snow,​
Her sparkling noons, the crowding into Commons,​
The long white afternoons, the twilight glow?​
See! By the light of many thousand sunsets,​
Dartmouth Undying, like a vision starts.​
Dartmouth, the gleaming, dreaming walls of Dartmouth,​
Miraculously builded in our hearts.​

dartmouth undying

So with that feeling of nostalgia permeating our being, on to some music to evoke feelings, memories, and notalgia, and things connected to our past, not to mention to enjoy, dance to, and feel good about life.

Silent Disco Red Headphones DJ Playlist:

Red Headphones DJ Playlist (midnight to 2 am)

Derek’s just killin’ it Blue and Green Headphones Playlists:

Blue Headphones Playlist
Green Headphones Playlist

35th Reunion Dartmouth Class of ’88 Chillin’ Vibe Red Headphone (beginning of night) Playlist:

Red Headphones Playlist

Derek’s Dinner Social Playlist:

And see my last blog ‘80s Flashback from June 4, 2024, with Playlists:

            I’ve Got A Rock & Roll Heart – ‘80s Rock

            Rock You Like A Hurricane – ‘80s Hard Rock

            Rock Me – ‘80s Hair Metal

            Rhythm Of The Night – ‘80s Dance

As well as my tribute blog Forever Man from July 14, 2022, in memory of a fallen college classmate, though the sentiments expressed are universal.

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment, with a little nostalgia for past moments…

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!