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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Community Reflects on the Evolution of Sidwell Music Taste

Whether heard through headphones in the hallways, enjoyed on weekends with friends or played during class, music has always held importance for Sidwell students — past and present. While much has changed since Sidwell’s alumni teachers were students, many music trends have remained the same.

According to Upper School Science Teacher Cecilia Laguarda ’13, when she chaperoned a recent dance, “a lot of the music that was playing was the same music played at Sidwell dances when [she] was a student.” Laguarda shared that Beyonce’s fourth album came out when she was a sophomore and that the Girls’ Cross Country team recently received t-shirts that said “Run the World.” Laguarda also recalled “listening to a lot of Katy Perry on the bus to and from Cross Country meets.” 

She concluded that a lot of what she listened to in high school “[was] whatever [her] teammates were listening to at the time,” as she was often carpooling with other students. Freshman Chetty Thomas also mentioned frequently listening to music while doing homework or in the car. Many other interviewed students agreed, mentioning they use music to focus, before school or while doing work. 

One Direction became a thing when I was in high school, and some people in my crew carpool were obsessed so I had to listen to a lot of that.

— Cecilia Laguarda '13

Several alumni teachers shared the popularity of bands as they were growing up. Upper School Math Teacher Dominic Lee ’00 said that, while he was attending Sidwell, “boy bands were at their peak,” such as N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Presently, favorite bands of the student body include Arctic Monkeys and Imagine Dragons, according to a poll. However, current students favor listening to a variety of solo artists such as Frank Ocean, SZA, Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny and Drake.

Lee’s two favorite songs at the time were “Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest and “Distortion to Static” by The Roots. Upper School Latin Teacher Jake Watson ’18 mentioned his favorite song was “Big Time Rush” by Big Time Rush; he also “had a Fall Out Boy phase in 9th grade.” Math Teacher Dolores Hamilton ‘90 loved Prince’s Album Alpha Street.

When polled on their favorite song, current students boosted certain tracks ahead in the rankings: “Pink Matter” by Frank Ocean, “The Archer” by Taylor Swift, “Hours in Silence” by Drake, “Good Days” by SZA, “It’ll Be Alright” by Dean Lewis, “Franchise” by Travis Scott, “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers and “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar.

Latin teacher Jake Watson also mentioned One Direction, Taylor Swift, Drake, The Chainsmokers and Lil Nas X as popular artists during his time at Sidwell. He remarked, “I play Taylor Swift songs in my classes when we need a brain break.” Taylor Swift was also a common response to music favorites, which could be a result of her ongoing Eras Tour popularity.

Many students, including freshman Brennan Kneller, still have One Direction and Harry Styles as their top artists. When asked what her favorite band was, Kneller said, “One Direction, obviously!” Laguarda also listened to One Direction, as she said, “One Direction became a thing when I was in high school, and some people in my crew carpool were obsessed so I had to listen to a lot of that.”

The music important to Sidwell stretches beyond radio tunes. Watson said, “We also appreciated musical performances from orchestra and chorus,” as current students do. He continued, “A Capella and Arts Guild were really popular.” The positive feedback from the all-school Arts Guild on Mar. 8 shows that students still value  the music created by their peers. Sophomore Caroline Mohamadi said, “So many people enjoy playing and making music. This makes it so there are unique opportunities because of the great interest in music in the Sidwell community.”

To highlight another similarity, Lee said that he thinks the most popular genre of music was considered “bubble gum pop.” Now, students like sophomore Sadie Johnson think, “Pop music is the most popular at Sidwell.”

However, there were also a few differences between current music trends and those that existed for alumni teachers. For example, Hamilton mentioned that 70s music “older tunes” would “always grace the senior center.” By contrast, a current senior said that music is no longer played in the senior center, but there is still “exciting energy.”

Additionally, Lee explained that “people were put in certain boxes according to their preferred genre, more so than kids are now.” 

The music habits of Sidwell students provide a window into campus life. The specific songs and artists that hold popularity may fluctuate, but the unifying element that music brings to the Sidwell community is unchanged.

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