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Haverford Spring/Summer 2011 : Page 12

Joti Rockwell ’97 (left) and Nathan Church Hubbard onstage as Rockwell Church. From Clubs to Classrooms oti Rockwell ’97 used to give concerts full-time. Now he mostly gives lec-tures. The former music and physics double major was a force on the Northeastern folk music circuit in the late 1990s as a member of the popular acoustic duo Rockwell Church, but now he’s settled into a qui-eter life as a husband, father of two and assistant professor of music at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. Rockwell was back on cam-pus in March to perform in the 30th-anniversary concert of the Humtones, the College’s oldest all-male a cappella group, and to give a talk as part of the Young Academic Alumni Series. “The last time I was there, in that room,” he says of MacCrate Recital Hall, where his lecture was held, “I was giving my sen-ior thesis!” Sipping coffee in the Coop, he looks barely older than the students that filter in and out around him, but, of course, Rockwell now has stu-dents of his own. After graduating from Haverford, he devoted himself to touring and making music full-time with Rockwell Church, the group he founded during college with his child-the airplane and in the car on the way back to graduate school. It was like this double life for a while.” As their careers blossomed and they began to have families of their own, that sort of manic touring schedule was no longer sustainable. Rockwell Church released its last album, Antidote , in 2003, and played its last tour in 2006. Luckily, though, after joining the faculty at Pomona and mov-ing to California, Rockwell found himself living close enough to L.A.-based Hubbard that they can now play together often (even if it’s just in private for their kids). Being back on campus this year gave Rockwell the chance not only to sing with the Humtones and share his schol-arship with a new generation of Haverford students, but also to reflect on how his experience at Haverford shaped him. “This is sort of my chance to thank my former professors for everything they gave me,” he says. “In that sense, it has been a really mean-ingful experience for me to be back here.” main lines J hood best friend, Nathan Church Hubbard, then a stu-dent at Princeton. After two years of long van rides, bad road food and late nights, both mem-bers of Rockwell Church were ready to return to academia. “Always being on the road was incredible for us, but it is a lot harder if you want to have a family and a more stable life situation,” says Rockwell of his choice to leave behind the applause of pop music. “Also, I really missed being in an aca-demic environment. When we were touring, I’d take music theory journals on the road with me.” Hubbard (now the CEO of Ticketmaster) eventually enrolled in business school, and Rockwell entered the graduate music program at the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in the history and theory of music. Still, they continued to play together. “There would be times where I’d fly back east and play in D.C. on Friday night and in Philly on Saturday night and in New York Sunday night, and then fly back Monday morning and go to class with a guitar and suitcase in hand,” Rockwell remembers. “I’d have to do my reading on P INWHEEL DAY REVEALED There are few things more beautiful than a perfect spring day on the Haverford campus, except maybe a perfect spring day on the Haverford campus on Pinwheel Day. Meant to celebrate the beginning of warm weather, Pinwheel Day is a beloved, but mysterious, tradition. According to Ford mythology, on the first seasonable day of spring, the campus awakens to find Founders Green carpeted with multi-colored, spinning pinwheels, which appear overnight thanks to the secretive effort of (an) anonymous do-gooder(s). This year’s Pinwheel Day took place April 11th, and anyone going to Haverford’s website on that morning found that the homepage had been “hijacked”—its usual look replaced by images of a pinwheel-decorated Founders Green. A related post on the Haverblog disclosed that a bit of sleuthing had turned up little information on the secretive tradition other than a theory that Pinwheel Day had been started by a student in 1998. But among a series of responses to our Pinwheel Day coverage posted by alumni that day to the Haverblog, we discovered one from someone who signed themselves “Mystery ’Ford from the Class of 19XX.” Here’s what he?/she? had to say: I can verify that the first (but at that time unofficial) “Pinwheel Day” took place in 1993 on Founders Green. The conspirators included myself and several other students, as well as a member of the maintenance crew, and several others who politely averted their eyes as we dotted the green with pinwheels under cover of night. It makes me very happy to see our small efforts became a Haverford tradition! 12 HaverfordMagazine

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