Sounds of Spring

Steve Charles—I was walking back to Kane House after lunch today when I heard the high notes of an alto saxophone reverberating off the walls of the Schroeder Career Center and Professor Hall Peebles house. I looked down the sidewalk to see senior Jake Lundorf, barefoot and in shorts and t-shirt, strolling along the street on this 80-degree spring day and playing his saxophone.

What a joyous sign of spring—the sound of live music in the middle of the day. I was reminded of my own student days at Hanover, Butler, and Trinity College in Wales, where warm days were always accompanied by instruments or voices from the open windows of practice rooms in the music department. It’s a sound I’ve not heard here since Dan Hartnett used to haul his cello onto the mall.

Jake is a psychology major, but he wants to teach. He said he’d been inspired to play outside by Professor David Blix’s story of another musician who used to play in the arboretum on beautiful, warm days.

"I’ve been pretty quiet on campus my four years," Jake said. "But on a day like this …"

Jake was really wailing on that sax—the sort of jubilant, lung-burning howl that could make guitar player like myself envious of Jake’s gift if I wasn’t enjoying the sound so much.

He finished his playing in the arboretum in the place of benches, stones, and spring flowers called the Petty Patch. It was donated by Phil Coons and Elizabeth Bowman in memory of poet-botanist-professor Robert Petty, a man who wrote about the natural world "burning with life." He would have loved Jake Lundorf’s response to that fire on this beautiful spring day.

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One Response to Sounds of Spring

  1. Anne Petty says:

    Steve, Your mention of my late husband, Professor Robert Petty, brought a smile to my face. You’re right; Bob would’ve approved! On a day such as that he’d have gone to class, fully intending to conduct a good ecology field trip to, say, Pine Hills, which he would do. But not without some fishing tackle in tow . . . just in case. One never knows what gifts such a day has to offer: fish ready to bite, early Spring Beauty or Salt-and-Pepper flower buds trusting the sun’s warmth, or the sound of music in the arboretum. Thank you for sharing this vignette from the Wabash College campus.