Goodbye Seniors Part IV: Jamie McGregor
Hey everyone! Welcome to our final installment of our Goodbye Seniors series. It may be sad, but all good things must unfortunately come to an end. But we are going out in a very special way, as Jamie McGregor sits down with me to talk about her time with Mads and her future at BC. Enjoy!
Anthony: Take me back to the beginning, why did you join the Madrigal Singers of Boston College?
Jamie: Well, I didn’t get into any of the other a capella groups (laughs). And then Rob Duggan kept on harassing me about it and then I auditioned but didn’t get in the first time because of marching band. But the second time I auditioned I got in and I’ve loved it ever since.
A: Awesome, awesome. Did you have any interest in High School?
J: Yeah, I was in every chorus I could possibly be in in High School. I didn’t get into district or all-state… I just have a lot of rejections. (laughs) But it’s OK, because I found exactly where I should be.
A: That’s very sweet. Did you know about Mads before coming to BC?
A: Well how did you find out?
J: Rob, I don’t read flyers. (laughs)
A: I know you’re very involved on campus. Tell me about how else you are contributing to BC.
J: I am in Chorale, the Marching Band, the Pep Band, and the Student Admissions Program.
A: What do you do for the Student Admissions Program?
J: I used to give tours and I sit in the admissions office and greet families and sometimes call prospective students. And I’ve been on the service trip to Natchez, Mississippi! We worked with a school for 2 to 5 year olds. It’s the first African American catholic school in the country.
A: Cool! Tell me more about SAP. Is exposing prospective students to BC rewarding for you?
J: I actually find it really exhilarating. It’s something that my girlfriend and I call the “SAP high,” where you have this amazing conversation with a prospective student and then your just so on top of the world. I love that and I am really enthusiastic about how much I love BC.
A: And you want to share that enthusiasm with people?
J: Yeah. It makes me really happy, actually.
A: So you talked a little about the trip to Mississippi. Tell me more about that because I know you like to work with kids, right?
J: Well, we drive 26 hours in a van down to Mississippi.
A: You DROVE to Mississippi!?
J: Yeah (laughs). And it’s just so rewarding to work with these kids because, honestly, in public schools here you can’t touch kids at all in any way. You can’t have any physical contact with them at all. But there you can hug them and pick them up and they can sit on your lap. They love you so unconditionally that its just the most amazing and rewarding experience ever. They LOVE us and we play with them and we do as much as we can for the teacher. And I actually bonded with the nun who runs the school. I was crying when I had to leave.
A: That is wonderful. Alright, so you do a lot of music stuff, why is that?
J: I really love music but I don’t know why because I dread rehearsals and I count down the minutes, but there is just something about music. I take piano lessons and voice lessons; I don’t know why I do it, but I’ve always done it and I guess at some level it brings me a lot of joy but I never really notice it until after I’ve done something and I think “wow that was awesome!”
A: The performance.
J: Yeah. I think my favorite thing that I’ve ever done in my life was singing Tollite with a group of people that I absolutely love outside of the Coliseum in Rome. It was just the most magical moment of my life and I honestly thought if I died right then I would be so fine with that. (laughs) That was how intense that moment was. That’s the chorale theme song, and it was out of this world amazing.
A: Do you get that performance high like you get that SAP high?
A: SAP high is better? (laughs)
J: SAP high is better, yeah. But, when I get a solo, no matter what it is, I shake uncontrollably and I don’t know why because I am never nervous but I am when I’m a soloist. I got a solo in chorale last year and I was shaking like a leaf.
A: (laughs) So back to Mads. Is there a moment during your time with Madrigals that stands out to you as you look back? A favorite moment?
J: That’s a very good question. I think the time when Anthony got the green dragon at the party (laughs). Because his reaction was so genuine and it meant so much to him that somebody paid attention to him and got him what he wanted. And we all just came together in this “we love each other” kind of way. It was just awesome, everyone was so happy that he was so happy.
A: (laughs) Yes, he was very happy. That dragon sits on my desk at home now, I held it in my arms while I took the bus home that winter break. Um, what does mads mean to you? Is it more than excuse to dress up in silly costumes?
J: Madrigals means that its a group a people that genuinely love music for the musicality of music. It’s not like pop music or doos and daas, it is really intense artistry. And its not like contemporary pop isn’t artistry, but someone put it once that the other groups don’t like us as much because we actually know what we’re doing.
J: I know that’s not really appropriate and that might offend a lot of people but I feel like we as a group are in it for the music and not for being popular or anything like that. And you know, I like classical music, I’m classically trained. There’s something about singing that genre that makes you smarter, it makes you more intelligent to focus and do these things. I know it’s hard to put together all the harmonies of popular a capella groups but having to pay attention to every pronunciation and every note and every dynamic is just so rewarding to me. I love that. It’s the perfect group for me because I was so classically trained that a more contemporary a capella group wouldn’t have fit my style of singing. So I really think that fate kind of brought me back, like I didn’t get into the other groups because I’m supposed to be in mads. I really believe that.
A: Do you feel that way about the music for your other groups like Chorale and marching band?
J: Marching band is more about spirit and getting people to appreciate what we do, and Madrigals is more about us appreciating what we do. And then Chorale, I’ve always felt like doesn’t pay enough attention to detail whereas we do. So I think that mads is definitely the most intense group for that focus that your asking about.
A: Cool. So what’s next for you after BC?
J: I’m going to grad school at BC –
J: To be an elementary school teacher, I’m majoring in elementary Ed. Beyond that, I want to teach in the state of Massachusetts, I still want to be around. I’m from Massachusetts, I’m a Massachusetts girl through and through. I’m really excited about the opportunity to teach and give back. And I’m big into using music in schools, I’m going to make up as many songs as I can to help kids remember things.
A: That’s great! Is it possible that you could still be in the group then?
J: I still can be, but I don’t know if I’ll have time. I would love to be able to stay in it.
A: That’s awesome! Thanks for doing this, Jamie!
Anthony Marte ’14