Hannah Rosenberg / Assistant Photo Editor

March 15, 2020

GUEST ROOM | Brass Players in the Arts Quad

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No one knew on Friday morning that it would be our last day of classes for the semester. But we had a suspicion that something would change, especially as The New York Times predicted Trump’s announcement of a national emergency. Day Hall must’ve paid attention to The New York Times’ warning; the fantasy of seeing our classmates until spring break evaporated Friday afternoon with the announcement of the immediate suspension of in-person classes, and the national emergency was soon after declared — and the strangest scramble off of campus began.

Within an hour, music began to fill the sunny arts quad. Someone tried to fly a green kite, but it never quite got into the air. “Iaaahhh’m hooked on a feeling!” I sang along to someone’s speaker, interrupting my independent study mentor outside of Goldwin Smith Hall. We were talking about continuing our study online, but I couldn’t pay attention. Music seemed to come from all directions: rap filtered up from the slope, 70s music emanated from a building across the quad and a boisterous moan of brass instruments began outside of Lincoln Hall.

Three beaming music students stood in a circle playing their french horns. I asked them to play me something that I could film, to document the moment. We all giggled together, over nothing in particular.

Students were drunk, skipping around and yelling to each other across the quads, glowering on the phone with their far-away family, tucked in dorm rooms packing or joining masses at Wegmans and Nasties to stock up on food and supplies. I watched freshmen steal street signs and take photos with them outside of the dorm they’ve called home since August.

The most fascinating groups of people, though, were the calm ones. The people that were out on the quad enjoying the sunny day. My two friends who went to the Johnson Museum to feel the light through the top floor’s window.

We have been just feeling Cornell. Friday’s intense wind paralleled the panic and change on campus, yet the sun kept us outside and warm.

During this last weekend at Cornell, we have been embracing our uncertain reality — speakers and instruments are playing us into a new age of whatever is coming. Our mania, joy and grief all come out in the screams peppering campus, but we also sit observing.

Whether you break out your french horn or sing your heart out, I hope you take the time to appreciate and celebrate Cornell in these last few days (while taking the proper health precautions, of course). Join the pandemonium, be in the moment, tell your crush you like them and play them your favorite song. If music be the food of love, play on.


Emma Plowe is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She currently serves as Arts Editor on The Sun’s board. She can be reached at [email protected].