—by Kelsi Gray
Imagine this, you’re sitting in a crowded basketball arena that is just buzzing with excitement for the homecoming game. You’ve got your drunken college students cheering obnoxiously in the stands waiting to heckle the other team, your die hard fans just waiting for the game to begin, and alumni coming back with their family to support their alma matter. While everyone is settling into the seats the pep band director strikes up a very familiar tune, “Dream On” from Aerosmith. You look down at the band and check them out when all of a sudden, you see a harp. That’s right, a harp. This isn’t just any harp, it’s a neon yellow/green Camac electric Harp.
My name is Kelsi Gray, and I am that harp player. I am a current sophomore attending George Mason University as a music major with the harp. I got involved with The Green Machine by pure chance. I was signed up for a jazz improv class not knowing what would be in store. Lucky for me, Doc Nix was teaching that class. He invited me to come check out the band and see how I felt about it, before I left he looked me dead in the eyes and said “Once you’re a member of this band, you’ll be a member for life.” I took those words to heart after how welcome and warm he made me feel joining the Green Machine. At first I thought I would just be playing the keyboard at the games, no big deal. Then we discovered it. An electric harp. We knew from that moment, that we absolutely had to have that harp in the Green Machine. After about a year and a half, we finally have it, our very own custom electric harp. And we couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. It’s so unique to be able to tell people, “Yeah I play the harp, not in just orchestras or anything but in a pep band that plays at basketball games too”. I get the strangest looks from people whenever I say that, but once they see everything in action they think it’s pretty awesome. Being able to play in the Green Machine just gives me such a boost of school spirit and really helps me get into college basketball games while still being able to play music. It’s definitely a different experience that not a lot of people can go through. I’m hoping to continue to help be able to spread my music and joy with the Green Machine for as long as I can. I really do love what I do! Go Mason!