Photo by Ava Simonsen.
If you walked past AHAP teacher Curtis White’s room on a monday after school, you would hear a much different sound then TED Talks and history crash courses. You would hear the song lyrics of the Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead Appreciation club is a new club to east this year, formed by seniors Matt Schotte and Peter McDonald. During the meetings, Schotte and McDonald cover a little bit of history on the Grateful Dead and discuss and listen to their music.
“I definitely think it is a new and unique club,” Schotte said. “There are lots of clubs, but nothing like this one,” Schotte said.
Last year, Schotte and McDonald were hanging out and listening to some of their music, and they decided to start the Grateful Dead Appreciation Club. They wanted to have a club that honored the many years of music the Grateful Dead has created. McDonald explained that their goal is to bring students together, while introducing a different attitude to the East environment.
“East is a school that is very competitive competitve, but easy to lose track of the big picture,” McDonald said. “It’s okay to be laid back, it’s oky to forget about school, and the pressure of it all. Sometime the best thing to do is just let the music play.”
Each week a different song is voted on by the club as the song of the week – this week’s was “Brown Eyed Woman.” Because the Grateful Dead performed each song differently every time they played it, the group discusses which version of the song of the week is the best. They listen to the different versions on the app Relisten. Relisten has a Grateful Dead archive with versions of all of their songs dating back to when they first began.
The seniors thought it would be interesting to establish a school club where other people who are fans in the Grateful Dead can come discuss the music while also drawing in kids who have never heard of the band before. So far, Schotte and McDonald have been surprised by the outcome of their first two meetings, each with about twenty students attending.
“There will be some kids, at least Peter and I hope, who have no idea about who the Dead are and will find them through our club and learn to really like them,” Schotte said.