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Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022

Proc ’n’ Roll: Music jazzes up mealtimes at Proctor Dining Hall

<span class="photocreditinline"><a href="https://middleburycampus.com/staff_profile/sarah-fagan/">Sarah Fagan</a></span>

Getting in line at Proctor Dining Hall promises something new every day: not only on the menu but also on the speakers. A Proctor morning might start with some gentle Taylor Swift, transition to throwback Elton John tunes by lunchtime and skip over several genres to arrive at rap by dinner — a practice that has been generating buzz among students. 

“I think it’s fun,” Amelia Seepersaud ’24 said. “I [was] getting dinner with a friend, and I know he has a very different music taste than I do. I enjoy a lot of the music they play [at Proctor], and he really liked [it] too.” Country, throwback hits, high-energy pop anthems and even EDM all make occasional appearances. 

“Whoever’s on aux is doing a great job,” Victor Esteche ’24 agreed. 

But who exactly is the dining hall DJ? 

“Usually the person who's checking [IDs is] playing the music,” Justin (J.T.) Lussier, who checks IDs at Proctor and is a member of the night crew, explained. “I like checking. It’s nice expressing interest in other people's lives,”  Lussier said. In the morning, Lilly Smith, who tends to favor crowd-pleasing, upbeat pop, is often controlling the music. Lusiser is responsible for the nighttime playlist, which is a high-energy mix of hip-hop and rap music.

Playing music during a shift has always been an option for staff. This semester, ID monitors like Lussier are making use of their aux powers more frequently after noticing positive student response. Dining hall staff and students alike have noticed that interaction in general is harder, as masks and limited seating have changed the Proctor dining experience. 

“You can tell a lot of people are stressed out,” Lussier said. “It feels good for people to come in and be like, ‘Hey, music’s fire,’ you know? I'm not saying I'm the cause of it, but playing music for people, and everyone just enjoying being able to relax more here and enjoy the experience rather than going back to [their] dorm is awesome.” 

Still, you can’t please everyone. “It’s a wee bit aggressive at times,” said Will Procter ’24. Volume is also a variable. There are still quiet spaces in the dining hall like the upstairs tables and at the booths, but loud music in the main room can make it hard to carry a conversation. 

If the music there isn’t your cup of tea, there is always the request list posted on the wall in line where students can write in song suggestions. For students who would like to experience the Proctor night-time playlist at all hours, Lussier dropped the name of his playlist: Popular Clean Rap and Pop 2020-21, by Steven Trotter on Spotify. Be sure to stay tuned: another hip-hop and rap playlist is in the works.


Olivia Mueller

Olivia Mueller '24 is an Arts and Culture Editor.

Mueller intends to major in International Politics and Economics.  Outside of the Campus, she is involved in the college choir, an avid  trail runner and hiker, and a member of the Middlebury Mischords. Off  campus, she can often be found exploring local coffee shops.


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