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Scene Selections: Welcome Weekend edition

and | Friday, August 17, 2018

Dominique DeMoe
Dominique DeMoe

Scene Selections: On campus

Hello, first years! Welcome to your new home! We’ve laid out a quick cheat-sheet of campus cultural quirks, activities and opportunities that you might want to think about as you head into your freshman year. Take a look.

5 songs you’ll definitely hear on campus your freshman year

  1. The Alma Mater: “Notre Dame, Our Mother” — Joseph Casasanta and Rev. Charles O’Donnell, C.S.C
    You’re going to want to learn the words to the Alma Mater as soon as possible. It’s the only song that you’ll sing on your first and last day at Notre Dame.

    2. “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” — Dropkick Murphys
    This Irish-themed ode to the city of Boston is so hype that it was combined with the iconic “Here Come The Irish” for a remix that plays before the kickoff of every home football game.

    3. “Canticle of the Turning” — Rory Cooney
    If you’re planning on hitting up a dorm Mass, nothing compares to the joy that you will feel when the priest asks you to open your hymnal to this banger post-Communion.

    4. “Mr. Brightside” — The Killers
    Remember this middle school anthem? We sure hope you do, because it’s played at literally every single dorm party.

    5. “Closer” — The Chainsmokers
    Notre Dame’s favorite electro-pop duo “tore it up” in a “mad lit” concert last year at our very own Purcell Pavilion. Speaking of which, hurry to buy your tickets for this year’s highlight concert: some guy named Garth Brooks.

Wait, is this what people actually listen to? Does Notre Dame have a music scene?  

Actually, yeah. As Scene writer Mike Donovan reported last year, there’s a lot of talent on campus. Notre Dame has produced bands such as Umphrey’s McGee, Ratboys and Frances Luke Accord and has plenty of creative solo artists working in our midst, if you know where to look. Check out weekly Acousticafes, put on every Thursday night by campus group SUB in the Duncan Student Center, or go to Lakeside Music Festival in the spring, put on by Carroll Hall, to see what kinds of songs your peers have been coming up with in between classes.

Get involved.

Interested in music, arts, theatre or writing, but not sure where to turn? The sheer amount of clubs and activities on Notre Dame’s campus can be overwhelming. We’ll call out just a few here that you might want to consider:

  • If you can speak into a microphone: WVFI student radio, known for their iconic NPR-inspired attire, is the perfect opportunity to flex your radio-DJ-ing muscles.
  • If you can sing: join one of our numerous campus acapella groups, or take up the open mic at Thursday evening’s Acousticafes.
  • If you can dance: ND/SMC Ballroom Club, Notre Dame Dance Company (modern dance), Notre Dame Swing Club … we could go on.
  • If you can act: Not So Royal Theatre Company does Shakespeare, Pasquerilla East Musical Company (better known as their acronym, PEMCO) does musicals, Student Players does everything and The Humor Artists improv comedy club are all the places to be.

Oh, and write for us.

Scene wants you. If you love the arts, are interested in journalism, enjoy writing or thinking about culture in your spare time, love or hate Kanye, make music or want to —  we’d love to have you. Shoot an email to [email protected] if you’re curious, even just a little bit. Or come to a meeting, 3 p.m. on Sundays in the basement of South Dining Hall. We’ll see you there!

Coming up on campus 

Aug. 17: Summer stargazing at Jordan Hall

Aug. 17, 18, 20-6: “Othello” through Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival at DeBartolo Preforming Arts Center (DPAC)

Aug. 20: “Merchant of Venice” through Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival at God Quad

Aug. 22: Art Attack, info tables and performances about the arts at DPAC

Sept. 5: Poet laureate Tracy Smith speaks @ Saint Mary’s College

Sept 7: Todd Rundgren’s Play Like a Champion Concert: Students Play The ‘80s at DPAC

Sept 21: An Intimate Evening with Kristin Chenoweth at DPAC

TBD: Garth Brooks concert at Notre Dame stadium


Scene Selections: Off campus

There’s no shortage of creative and fun ways to escape the campus bubble. Getting downtown is easier than you think — even if you’re stranded without a car, you can hop on the South Bend Transpo bus at the Hesburgh Library circle for free. Here’s some Scene wisdom for how to explore your new home.

South Bend at a Glance

  • Population size: about 101,000
  • Mayor: Pete Buttigieg
  • Founded: 1865
  • Colleges: Saint Mary’s College, Bethel College, Holy Cross College, Indiana University South Bend, University of Notre Dame

Best study spots in town

Zen Cafe has undoubtedly the highest-quality coffee in the area, if you’re willing to spend an extra dollar or two. While you’re there, explore the many rooms of LangLab, the renovated factory space that Zen Cafe calls home. Chicory Cafe has an unbeatable location downtown and ample table seating — it can be a bit loud, but the chai tea latte is excellent. Same goes for The General, which is generally quiet and looks out right on the river. And the South Bend Public Library, although they don’t serve treats, is a reliable and comfortable place to work, and a welcome break from Hesburgh.

Places to take your parents for dinner

In no particular order …

  • Mango Café: Venezuelan food like arepas and empanadas — surprisingly filling
  • Lasalle Grille: high-end steakhouse, locally-sourced classic American fare
  • Rocco’s: pizza and cannoli with a storied history
  • Cambodian Thai: best tofu in town, laid-back atmosphere
  • Tapastrie: delectable tapas with a view of the St. Joseph River  

Things to do on a free weekend

Have a free weekend without a football game? Trade out Notre Dame football for a South Bend Cubs game while they’re still in season. Or, on a Saturday morning, wander through a maze of fresh produce and beautiful locally-made goods at the South Bend Farmer’s Market, and finish with a lunch at the South Bend Farmer’s Market Cafe, inarguably one of the best breakfasts in the city.

If you can muster the courage, rafting down the East Race — open to the public as late as September 9 for less than $10 — is a must. Keep an eye on some of South Bend’s best venues — Vegetable Buddies, Fiddler’s Hearth, The General, LangLab — for shows and live music events. Also, Ignition Music Garage in Goshen is about a half-hour drive away, but worth it for their excellent collection of records and live shows. If all else fails, grab your friends and go for a walk along the St. Joseph River in the evening, when the River Lights, large interactive light sculptures along the river, are just starting to glow.

Coming up

Aug. 18: Art Beat at Downtown South Bend

Aug. 24-5: Renaissance Fair at Pinhook Park

Aug. 30: Juice and Joe Hertler play at Vegetable Buddies

Sept 7: First Fridays at Downtown South Bend

Sept. 7-23: “Jesus Christ Superstar” at South Bend Civic Theatre

 Sept. 12: Alison Krauss at Morris Performing Arts

Sept. 8 and 9: Elkhart Comic Con at Downtown Elkhart

Sept. 24: Modest Mouse plays at Morris Performing Arts  

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