Musician inspires students to relax between classes, join jam sessions
As students pass by the Agnes Arnold Auditoriums on their way to class, they can sometimes hear acoustic covers of Radiohead or Sublime songs. The source of the sounds, a group of students occupying the stone benches, is jamming out in the open air.
Jack Hubbard, an undeclared sophomore, seems to be in his element, with his long hair and curled-up mustache, as his tenor rings out in the air.
He started bringing his guitar to campus during his first semester at UH in the fall of 2014. He had a break between his classes and decided to spend that time singing classic rock songs for anybody who would listen.
“I used to carry the guitar around my senior year of high school and play during lunch,” Hubbard said. “This just seemed like a natural extension of that. I had a three-hour break my first semester here, so I needed something to do, and playing guitar seemed as good as anything else.”
Hubbard said his musical endeavors started with him joining the choir in middle school. During his high school years, he learned to play guitar to accompany his voice.
Hubbard said he would be happy if this musical hobby turns into a career, but he isn’t planning to actively pursue that. Instead, he is considering focusing on interpersonal communication.
The music he plays primarily consists of rock from the ‘70s to ‘90s, with occasional blues or punk tunes. Hubbard said he learns any song that would sound good on an acoustic guitar and plays the songs he enjoys listening to himself.
Since Hubbard started playing music between classes, several other students have joined him for the jam sessions. Some just sit and listen while others perform as well, sometimes even bringing their own instruments.
“Anybody who wants to join is welcome,” mechanical engineering senior Josh Cronk, another student who often participates, said. “It’s a nice little stress relief between classes.”
Cronk plays a variety of instruments, including guitar, banjo, harmonica and the djembe, a West African goblet drum played with bare hands. Others have brought their ukuleles, mandolins, bongos and, on at least one occasion, even an electric guitar with an amplifier.
According to the Code of Ordinances of Houston, Sec. 28-6, it’s illegal to perform music in public and collect money from bystanders. However, neither Hubbard nor others are asking for any donations. Their intentions are to have fun, socialize and entertain.
History professor Robert Buzzanco teaches at a classroom in Agnes Arnold Hall around the same time Hubbard and others gather just outside. He doesn’t find the music to be too much of a nuisance.
“I think it’s great, actually,” Buzzanco said. “It’s an old tradition of people sitting outside. I think it’s cool.”
Hubbard and others can usually be found on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1-2:30 p.m. between Agnes Arnold Hall and the Agnes Arnold Auditoriums.