Photo by Lucy Wimmer (C’20)
By Taylor Childress C’18
As I first approached the vast front yard of the Green House, I was neither mentally nor physically prepared for what I was about to experience at the annual Arm and Trout event. Students were piling into the quaint living room, peeking through porches and windows, and standing in freezing temperatures just to catch a glimpse of the activities happening inside.
After innovatively standing on chairs to peer over the packed venue, I finally got a chance to see exactly why students were willing to do these ludicrous actions rather than flocking to a fraternity on a weekend night.
Arm and Trout is an event advertised as an open mic night, but only if you’ve attended will you realize how much more it is, not just to the individuals who perform, but to the Sewanee community as a whole. Entertainers consisted of those with vocal and instrumental talents, along with poetic readings and stand-up comedians.
Setting the ambience, the Mother Pluckers started off the night with their unforgettable indie/bluegrass style. Other musical performances by fellow classmates and friends followed, including a spontaneous sexy saxophone interlude of “Careless Whisper.”
Reactions from the audience were astoundingly receptive and more people joined in with the songs and acts as the night progressed. To quote performer Isaac Sligh (C’18), “This might sound funny, but this night has a really Bohemian spirit to it. It reminds me of something from a coffee shop in 1960s Greenwich Village, just a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all kinds of new talent.”
He added, “This is one of my favorite nights of the year; you never know what to expect, but you know that it will be surprising and good and that you’ll be able to share it together with your friends in the Sewanee community.”
A performance that truly encapsulated the aura of the event was an unforgettable monologue written and read by the talented Gigi Ruppel (C’18). With details ranging from our beloved excess of Clurg to-go cups, to understanding just what these 13,000 acres mean, Ruppel said, “It means something completely different for you as it does for me.” Within those differences comes a beautiful realization of our presence on this campus.
Arm and Trout exemplifies Sewanee’s way of appreciating quirks and individual talents while everyone contributes to the united picture of progressive acceptance and recognition.
During those timeless hours of communal appreciation, the night passed too quickly. For one night a semester, people are able to come together and cherish other students for their individuality, and by the end of the night, the entire crowd sang along to the sound of true Sewanee spirit.
The event in itself is an “ode to Sewanee,” as Ruppel said, “to the place in the middle of nowhere, a place I love to share. For Sewanee you have my heart, you have my soul, without you, see, I am not whole. So thank you for being you, and for making me be me, and opening my eyes for all there is to see.”