By Jacquelyn Oster, Class of 2019
Dressed in plaids and festive florals, the students of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts broke from the rigor of their studies and gathered on the lawn outside the library to celebrate the start of a new semester. With shorter days, cooler temperatures, chirping crickets, and the addition of Christmas lights to some of the buildings on campus, a mingling of seriousness and gaiety could be felt by all.
The Contrabandidos came from Groton, Massachusetts to lead the students in different reels and contradances. Tom Ford, who is both a master of the woodworking guild and manager of Buildings and Grounds at TMC, leads the group in its playing of traditional fiddle and Celtic music. Sensitive and observant, he helps to ground the students’ pursuit of wisdom with practical, hands-on knowledge of everything from botany, to construction, to music; and everyone was pleased to see his familiar face in the band.
The freshmen eagerly kicked off their shoes and learned the dances which have old favorites of the upperclassmen. Others sat on the steps of the library and reflected, over wine and refreshments, on the latest chapter of their time at TMC. To thank the talented musicians—which included some of the most experienced callers in New England—students linked arms for a sincere performance of Red Is the Rose. After the band left, a once-crowded tent gave several remaining students ample space to play their own music and break into innovative dance moves. They continued to laugh as merrily as they had while tripping through some of the more coordinated ones.
In the earliest hours of the morning, the last of the lingering students began making their way back to the dorms, to ready themselves for Sunday Mass and the start of a new academic year. Like everyone at TMC, they know that the challenges of academic life must be met with wonder for creation and the everyday joys of life.