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no composure fosters connection through music

The newly created band known for their McCormick Quad performances is making waves in the University music scene

<p>In the spirit of challenging themselves, the band is currently working on original songs to add to their repertoire.</p>

In the spirit of challenging themselves, the band is currently working on original songs to add to their repertoire.

It is a warm afternoon in late March, and students are congregating around the freshly trimmed lawns of the McCormick Quad. As they engage in riveting conversations and playful games, the band no composure takes center stage. Eyes are drawn to the scene as the band produces a captivating tune — a combination of bass, guitar, drums and vocals that echoes through the hearts of homesick first-year students seeking comfort and connection.

Made up of Elena Heraldo, drummer and first-year College student, Conor Bracy, rhythm guitarist and second-year Engineering student, Liam Mullins, bassist, vocalist and first-year College student, Lucas Ihnat, lead guitarist and first-year College student and Ayman Raakin, guitarist, lead vocalist and first-year College student, the group blends their respective instruments and talents to produce a diverse sound and lively energy during each set.

The self-proclaimed “Old Dorms Band” came to be in the fall of 2023 after the band members found each other through a group chat for University Records — a student-run club that brings musicians together and hosts shows for them to perform. According to the members of the band, they decided to join forces because of their shared passions for music and performing, as well as their desires to share these passions with the University community.

The band began establishing their alternative-rock/indie-rock sound on Grounds by holding jam sessions on the McCormick Quad, playing covers of songs from bands like The 1975 and Deftones. While the Quad has since become a staple of no composure’s brand, the location was not one initially on the band’s radar, but instead was one they chose out of necessity. 

“University Records didn't really have the optimal practice space, sometimes it would just be booked – and it's so far away [from the dormitories],” Mullins said. 

While not their first choice of venue, the band said that the Quad has been an integral part of the group’s progression. According to the group, the Quad was the place where they were able to all get acquainted musically and learn new songs. Raakin shared that their Quad jam sessions have not only brought the band closer, but they have also inadvertently formed a community amongst themselves and those that come to listen. 

“I think that our outdoor practices in the Quad draw in a lot of people to hang out and watch,” Raakin said. “We have met a lot of great people through them, just passing by, and I’m sure other people have had the same experience.”

Despite the community that has been built from the band’s Quad performances, the location has not always been an easy one for the band to play at. The group shared that the main obstacle they have run into since establishing their presence on the Quad is noise complaints when sessions run late. The band said that to avoid these complaints, they now plan their practice sessions around not only their own schedules, but also around the typical studying times of the students residing in the McCormick dormitories. 

Along with giving them a space to perform, the band also attributes their growth to the novelty of their McCormick Quad presence, sharing that after each performance they direct spectators and those passing by to their Instagram

“We’ve definitely gained the most followers [from] playing out in the Quad compared to shows,” Ihnat said.

Despite their humble origins in the Quad, the band has expanded its presence in Charlottesville, fully immersing themselves in its thriving music scene. They now not only perform on the Quad, but also play at house shows put on by student-run organizations, such as Indieheads, and at local establishments, such as Crozet Pizza at Buddhist Biker Bar.

Just like the Quad, the band said that these other stages allow them to try new performance techniques, which the members agreed is one of the best parts about playing music together. 

“It's just fun to do unorthodox things, just to challenge ourselves as musicians,” Mullins said. 

In the spirit of challenging themselves, the band is currently working on original songs to add to their repertoire. Raakin discussed how experimenting with lyrical themes and musical structures with original music will allow no composure to stand out amongst others in the University music scene, specifically in relation to the band’s song, unofficially titled “Orientation,” which is still in the works. 

“We try to do some weird stuff in [“Orientation”],” Raakin said. “At the end, we have a section that goes into 7/4 [time], which you don't really hear much of that from the other bands.”

Intending to transition to primarily original music in the future, their upcoming projects leave plenty of room for excitement. 

“We plan to at least try to move our stuff to fifty percent or more originals at some point,” Raakin said. “In about six more months or maybe a bit more, we'll have enough stuff to do something like that — but stuff is in the works!”

Next time you are walking down McCormick and hear the sounds of music reverberating from the Quad, know that no composure is doing what they do best — playing their music free from boundaries and composure. 


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