MEGAN COURTNEY | Culture Editor
One by one, members of the band trickled into Room 101A in Young Hall for their 12:30 Friday afternoon practice.
Some of the outlets in the room didn’t work, but they needed power for the amplifiers.
Once everyone arrived, they began going over what to practice.
The name of the band, which is made up of faculty and staff members, is a clever play on words: Borrowed Notes.
It’s a way of saying that they are mostly a cover band, as they “borrow” notes from other musicians, psychology professor Christopher Scribner said.
Other names the band went by in the past include “Central Tendency” and “On The Test.”
They are no strangers to the Lindenwood campus, playing events like the old Sibley Day, the Christmas Walk and more at the request of President Michael Shonrock, according to Scribner.
During Lindenwood’s homecoming this past Saturday, a crowd of people gathered to watch the band play.
A mother swing danced with her small children, and Shonrock posed with members of the band during a photo-op.
The group originated with now Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Michael Stein, nearly 10 years ago, but the current members of the group have been playing for only two years.
He was on a committee that interviewed prospective faculty. Since then, the band has been a case of “membership,” by one person recruiting another.
An older member had invited Christopher Scribner, who now plays lead guitar, to sit in on a practice. Also at the time, they were in need of a bass player, so Ricardo Delgado, dean of the School of Sciences, assumed the position.
After Delgado became bass player, the group needed a singer, and he knew someone who could sing.
“Rico casually mentioned that his administrative assistant likes to sing and asked if we minded if she came down for a practice,” Stein said in an email. “Thus, Rachel Blair became our singer.”
Blair was raised in a family where everyone played an instrument. She was around music growing up.
“My mom and dad sing and play guitar; my brother played bass,” Blair said. “My sister never really got into music but got into it [eventually]. I have a long upbringing into music.”
As an adult, Blaire didn’t take voice lessons or go through music programs, and through college, she hadn’t played an instrument or sang.
“Doing this has opened up that musical realm for me again,” Blair said.
In addition to Blair being the main vocalist, professor of educational leadership Stephen Sherblom, a continuing member of the band who plays rhythm guitar, harmonica and drums, mentioned that Elaine Ragland, an administrative assistant in the School of Humanities, likes to sing.
As a result, Blair sings the main vocals, and Ragland provides harmony vocals, sometimes singing the lead.
As of September of this year, Blair is no longer working for Lindenwood but is still in the band.
Stein said that it isn’t always easy to find a time to meet and practice, but he believes the consistency of the band has paid off.
For years, Stein played music for his own enjoyment – being in a band has taught him to cooperate with others and adjusting when necessary, he said.
He said his bandmates would also say that he is “stuck in the past,” but was taught a few new notes.
“One of the many things I have enjoyed by being with Borrowed Notes has been exposure to songs written in the twenty-first century,” Stein said.
He credits Delgado and Blair with “exposing” him to current music and said it has been “great fun” learning to play them.
Currently, they play a mix of “oldies,” including the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Cat Stevens.
Newer music that Stein has enjoyed learning includes Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum, and the late Amy Winehouse.
While Delgado also plays for amusement, he said it also a “creative outlet.” He makes the instruments that he plays, which he sees an additional way to express himself.
“My mother is an artist, and her father was a carpenter,” Delgado said in an email. “Both taught me those skills.”
Delgado has made a Telecaster style guitar with a Van Gogh theme, leather keychains for students who’ve graduated hanging nightstands for his wife, a purple bass guitar with hand-tooled leather straps and a coffin case for the guitar.
Outside of music, the band members all know each other, which is one of the key things that’s helped keep them together for the past two years.
“Blair is Delgado’s administrative assistant; Delgado is my dean and Blair is a former student of mine and Delgado’s,” Scriber said.
Playing together is often the highlight of their weeks, Scribner said.
“I know I can say that I’d rather play music than even eat lunch on the days we play,” he said in an email. “It’s a nice change of pace from our regular work. We have fun with it, we’ve gotten to know each other better, and we laugh a lot.”
Scribner said playing in the band has helped improve his guitar playing greatly.
“It’s great to have a chance to learn from accomplished musicians like Stein and Sherblom,” Scribner said.
Scriber said that Sherblom is the most “versatile” member and even wrote one of the songs, “Stand Together,” the group played at a lunch event in May.
“It’s a song about the strength of community and our inherent human need for connection and that we should celebrate it rather than fear it,” Sherblom said.
Members of the band say musicians have to figure out how to follow and lead each other, so Borrowed Notes is a learning experience, not only musically, but personally.