When the Hum Becomes the Hymnal: The Magic of The Stone Church

There’s something about the car ride to Newmarket from Durham that never fails to feel magical. It makes no sense -- there is literally nothing special about this 13 minute drive, yet it always manages to move my soul in some sort of funky way. Upon rolling down Main Street in Newmarket there is the typical debate about which side street we’re supposed to take. But once the car begins audibly struggling to chug up the steep hill we know that we’re close to the Stone Church.

Excitement builds as the slams of our car doors are mutilated by the escaped sounds of bands warming up from inside the building. Winning free tickets to the show makes this night even better, something I thought wasn’t possible. A $5 admission fee may seem like no big deal, but this is simply representative of the night. It feels like everything in the universe wants me to be right here, right now.

The Stone Church is a not-so-secret hidden gem, tucked away up the hill in Newmarket. While the beers may

be significantly more expensive than at Scorps, it is worth the extra few dollars to listen to groovy live music in a place that doesn’t have an inch of spilled drinks on the floor and no dancing room. And if you’re on a budget I promise the $2 PBRs really do taste better at the Stone Church.

Upon entering, I see friends, familiar faces from classes, that person I had coffee with two years ago, people I used to work with, the list goes on. It’s like everyone who’s ever been a part of my time at UNH is present; a giant melting pot of people from all aspects of my life joining in on this one special night. Bonded by a shared love of music and a desire to dance the night away, we have all found our way into these four walls tonight. I have never felt so comfortable and genuinely in the right place. Some things in life just make so much sense it makes me wonder why I’ve ever felt lost.

Sneaky Miles covers “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in some of my favorite minutes of the whole night. Not only because this is one of my favorites to sing along to in the car, and not even because it is already decidedly going to be my wedding song, but because the lyrics floating around the tongues of the people in the church ring true. You can feel the love in the guitarist’s eyes as he serenades the keyboardist, convincing the crowd that he truly would “jump out that window” right after him. To sum it up in the words of my dear friend and our beloved leader and editor-in-chief, “That church atop the hill sure does feel like home.”

In the midst of big changes I am able to find stillness in the beautiful commotion of the Stone Church. This year has been anything but calm. Hectic, stressful, wild, boisterous, late nights, early mornings. Peaceful is

one of the last words I would use when talking about my senior year at UNH. Yet, in the midst of all the chaos,

on the middle of the dance floor, head banging and singing along with the wrong words I find my zen. The vibrating bass penetrates my heart, captivating it in a way that forces me to focus only on the music, only on this moment right now. The smiles spreading throughout the room are infectious and I can’t help but believe the rest of the crowd is experiencing this same bliss I am.

At a time when there are so many horrible and thought consuming events occurring in our world, this group of people are simply listening. Sometimes it is the loudest things that drown out the noise of our lives and quiet the mind. Experiencing live music is the antidote to the constantly felt pressures of the world we live in. With each strum, drum and belted lyric we are able to let go just a little more, lightening the loads that we carry.

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