//PICTURED ABOVE: Instrument in hand, senior Sophie Pearson takes the stage with her former bandmates at a CD release party for the pop rock band, Love Past Blue.
Every once in a while, senior Sophie Pearson will rock your world. With an instrument in hand and a microphone in front of her, she has stood under the spotlight in many venues throughout Dallas. While music can play a big part of any student’s life, some, like Pearson, are on the other side of the industry, writing and performing music with their own bands.
Over the course of her sophomore and junior years, Pearson has been in two bands. Though always passionate about music, she never gave much thought about joining a band until a few students from Richardson High School messaged her on Instagram and asked her if she could play music with them. The kids knew that she was good at playing the bass, and Pearson thought, “Why not?”
“I‘ve performed with people before, but I hadn’t been in a solid group where I could write my own music, so it was just a really great outlet,” Pearson said. “It was a cool way to be able to make something and be a part of the genres of music that I liked.”
The first band that Pearson played in was called Drop Dead Susie, the second, Aloe Sara. While she started out playing bass for Drop Dead Susie, she took the role of the guitarist and lead vocals in Aloe Sara.
Pearson is not the only Hockaday student to have found like-minded people to start their own band. Hockaday juniors Abby O’Brien and Margaret “Maisy” Crow started their band, The Gay Cousin, earlier this year with junior Mason Antes from the St. Mark’s School of Texas. Recently, junior Lucy Young joined the band as a keyboardist.
While O’Brien was always passionate about playing music, she got the idea to form a band when she began to teach her friend, Crow, how to play the bass. The group of friends have since then become closer than ever.
For Crow and Young, being in The Gay Cousin is their first time playing in a band. Since they both love music, joining their friend’s band made perfect sense.
“I’ve never heard my friends play their instruments before, so it’s just exciting to see them play music,” Young said.
On the other hand, the members of Pearson’s bands were from a variety of high schools, consisting of students from Richardson High School, Science and Engineering Magnet High School, Lake Highlands High School and the Greenhill School. Pearson is confident that the friends she made in the bands can help her as a musician in the future.
“It gives me a lot of resources for people in the local scene, if I ever want to play a show or if somebody ever wants to start another band,” Pearson said. “It’s given me this great network of other teenagers and professionals in the area and around the country.”
During Pearson’s time in her two bands, she has performed in venues across Dallas, including Club Dada, Three Links and even individual house shows. Most of the time, Pearson and her bands are responsible for opening shows for bigger bands. In those cases, lo- cal venues or event organizers would often find their contact information on the bands’ social media advertisements.
“An event organizer reaches out about a band coming to their venue, and they need a local opener, so they’d ask us for that,” Pearson said.
Since The Gay Cousin is fairly new, the band has not been able perform yet, but they have put in the effort to practice. Their next goal is to be able to perform at a Hockaday or St. Mark’s Coffee House later this year.
“We each learn our own parts, and then we rehearse independently, and then we rehearse together. As long as everyone does their part, it works out fine,” O’Brien said.
As school work has piled up, Pearson stopped playing for her bands, but music still remains a big part of her life. She is now focusing on acoustics, collaborating with senior Kate Short on song covers and small performances. Short believes that Pearson’s previous experience in bands has served her well as they move forward with the duo.
“Because she’s had all this experience with stage and tech guys, she knows exactly which gear to use and what’s the best way to set [the stage] up,” Short said.
Though neither Pearson and O’Brien is sure if they want to be professional musicians, they believe that music will always be an important part of their identities. Pearson also encourages more Hockaday students to further their musical talents outside of school, whether it’s playing for bands or starting out with small performances.
“It introduces you to a lot of great people,” Pearson said. “It’s a great outlet, and you never know what could become of it.”
Story by Michelle Chen, Web Editor
Photo provided by Sophie Pearson