by Sam Scott
On April 15, the Green House experienced truly Tokyovian levels of crowding in anticipation of the annual Leg and Salmon show. Musicians, writers, readers, and their devoted fans crowded in doorways, hallways, and windows for the House’s annual show. Sitting under the eyeless gaze of the cardboard moose head, some drinking sweet tea from jam jars, the eager audience awaited the show’s beginning. This was announced by master of ceremonies John Mark Lampley (C ’16), in his guise as Don John Lampleone, laid down the ground rules for the show. “You will clap… for everyone. It will make them feel loved.” Among the contributors were Aaron Browning (C’15), Caitlin-Jean Juricic (C’14), Jourdan Redden (C’17), Sam Scott (C ’16), Hali Steinmann (C ’17), Walter Chiarella (C’17), Lily Tidwell (C’ 17) Linda Kleinfeld (C ’16), Lily Davenport (C’ 16), Elise Anderson (C ’15), Sarah High (C ’15), Cid Oculam (C ’16), Bea Troxel (C’15), Will Watson (C’12), Becca Hannigan (C ’16), David Evans (C ’15), Austin Ondrusek (C’ 17), Saunders Drukker (C ’ 17), James Carmichael (C ’15), Alec Hill (C ’16), Bella and Nancy Lily (C ’16), Cameron Crawford (C ’14), Abbey Moore (C ’15) and John Cochran (C ’15).
Browning read an excerpt from his loosely Sewanee-inspired short story “The Other College,” before giving the floor to Juricic and her very Sewanee-inspired “Love Letter to My University.” “I’m glad it’s funny,” she said, after being interrupted by a solid minute of laughter after her Mean Girls reference that her classmates should “stop trying to make honky-tonk happen.”
“This is my last song,” said Redden after a set of guitar ballads, prompting an anguished “Noooo!” from somewhere in the crowd. Fortunately, Lily Davenport and Linda Kleinfeld made up for the disappointing departure by leading a ukulele singalong of “American Pie.”
“This is Walter,” said Lampley. “He’s going to sing you a song.” Which he did, in the form of an acoustic-guitar rap, with professional flow that reminded this reporter of Atmosphere’s Slug. “Why are you people looking at me like that?” Lampley said after the rap. “Like I should entertain you? This is not my show. This is Lily Tidwell’s show.” She provided us with an Avett brothers cover, as well as a reading of her original story, a piece of Beat Prose featuring a woman who “complied with the laws of gravity only because it was polite.”
“So the first time we sang this song was about… ten minutes ago,” said Lily before she and Alli Horick (C’15) launched into a rousing a capella cover of the Lumineers’ “Hey Ho.” They dedicated “I Had a Hammer” to Annya Shalun (C’16), but had towait for her to come back before they could sing it properly.
“These are very popular songs,” said High as she and Anderson began their own a capella set, “so feel free to snap along, tap along, whatever.” The audience happily complied, as well as cheering every time the two talented vocalists hit a particularly difficult note. Kachelman (C’17) followed them with “a new literary form I like to call the little ditty.” The ditty concerned Uncle Stump, who looks like a bearded gummy bear and once “broke down a kid’s door. It wasn’t even locked.”
Cid Oculam provided several excellent Eric Church covers, inspiring much swooning from the ladies in the audience, which led in turn to a very impromptu duet with one of his newly minted fans. Next came an audience-wide rendition of happy birthday for Richard Milby (C’15).
“Friends, our next guest… shut up… our next guests are Sewanee famous,” said Lampley. “It hurts me…to have to raise my voice. In my own house.” These Sewanee-famous musicians were Will Watson and Bea Troxel on guitar and Mary Grace Bowring on violin. After the trio’s performance, Troxel sang an original song, accompanied by some accidental mood lighting when an audience member leaned on the switch. After some difficult maneuvering of a cello and bass into the room, Becca Hannigan, David Evans, Saunders Drukker and Austin Ondrusek began their own set, including an original composition by Hannigan.
“Our next guests this evening are sisters. And I’m pretty sure they’re related,” said Lampley as Nancy and Isabella Lily began a set of rousing country hymns. Cameron Crawford sang a series of eclectic covers taken from the catalogs of Merle Haggard, PJ Harvey, and The Mountain Goats, before Abby Moore and John Lampley, out of character for once, led the crowd in “Lord of the Dance” and Moore performed Beyonce on banjo. Lampley then recited a poem he learned from a cowboy, and, as the crowd began to disperse, Sarah High and Robert Walker led the stragglers in a post-show singalong. All told, the Green House has provided one of the best experiences I have ever had at this fine institution, and I eagerly await Arm and Trout in the fall.