By Erin Cooper
Former students came back to town with a burst of sound on Friday, Oct. 25, for Alumni Night at the Rathskeller. By 5 p.m. a crowd had already gathered, comprised of current students and alumni alike. They greeted each other with handshakes and hugs, their conversation buzzing between the brick walls.
Shane Dermanjian, junior international studies major and College Union Board Rat chair, was busy setting up before the show.
“A lot of alums show up because it’s the Rat,” said Dermanjian, who was expecting more than the usual turnout of 60 to 80 for CUB’s Rat shows.
Not only was it Alumni Night, but the Greek Alumni were having their reunion in the Rat, too, with free food drawing considerable numbers to the crowd.
The night’s first performer was Paul Bernardo aka PA Angelo, class of ’11, backed up by Derek Krommelbein on drums. Wearing worn, torn sneakers and bearing a black electric guitar, Bernardo’s sharp, acidic vocals were accompanied by humming riffs and the sure rhythm of Krommelbein’s bright blue drums. Bernardo was an active performer, jumping up excitedly, then later getting down on the floor as he continued to play his guitar.
The performance was unexpectedly interrupted midway by an unidentified person with a special announcement: “Antonio is still a virgin,” he declared, and the crowd, including the presumed Antonio, laughed. With good humor, PA Angelo included Antonio in the lyrics of his next song, much to Antonio’s amusement. “Thank you, Antonio!” Bernardo called out at the song’s end.
The Dundees took the stage next, featuring Dan Gibson, Matthew Mance and Sam Moeller, all from the class of ’14, and Matt Prestia, who did not attend the College. The Dundees have existed as a band for four years.
The powerful vocals from Gibson rose over the surge and crash of the band’s three guitars as they played. It was an energetic performance, complete with dancing on stage, presided over by the guitars’ wall of sound.
“It’s kind of weird to be back and not be a student,” Gibson said of his return to the College. “I feel like a grown-up, and it’s weird.”
The Dundees played shows in the Rat when their members were students, and according to Gibson, there were “more people (in the Rat) than there have ever been.” The band’s name came from one of the band’s former drummers, whose grandmother lived in Dundee, Scotland. The drummer eventually moved away, but the name stuck around.
When asked what he’d been doing lately outside of his work with the band, Gibson chuckled and said he was “trying to get a job.” In addition, Moeller is starting graduate school at Rowan.
Angie Bernardo, the mother of PA Angelo’s lead singer, was in the center of the crowd that night, cheering enthusiastically first for her son and then for the Dundees. She was also impressed by the turnout at the Rat.
“It’s so much energy, the young people,” Angie said. “It’s good for them to have a place to come.”