University of Calgary

Join The Club

Submitted by alumni on Wed, 05/20/2015 - 10:00.

Join The Club

Some 17,000 students currently participate in UCalgary’s “club scene.” From Quidditch teams to origami groups, discover what’s driving this boom.
by Mike Fisher | Photography by Jim Wells

Welcome to a good gig GIG Night

How to join GIG Club Come to the club’s space (in Mac Hall, near Stor) and look for people with guitars.

Students are draped over red couches in Science A Building’s Arts Lounge as Kira Lagadin, a BComm student, tests the microphone — tap, tap, tap — with her peach-coloured fingernail. She and others are performing in the cozy space, while fellow Haskayne business student Alex Masarsky bends over a small mixing board to fine-tune their sound.

Lagadin cradles her acoustic guitar and eases into Colbie Caillat’s hit song “Bubbly,” singing, “You make me smile, please stay for a while ... ” Her voice is remarkably smooth.

Many of the 30 or so students who are eating slices of pizza, sipping coffee, sitting and standing, start snapping their fingers. A tall girl with long dark hair slaps a book against her thigh and someone near the back shouts: “You’re amazing!”

Welcome to another GIG (Guys/Girls Into Guitar) Club Open Mic night. It’s a biweekly event that gives Lagadin and other students, including those who play other instruments, an opportunity to try their talents in front of a welcoming audience.

It’s more, though. The club is a refuge for students. Lagadin says she wanted to find a sense of community at UCalgary while meeting like-minded, supportive people.“GIG Club adds a lot to my university experience.”

“It’s difficult to meet friends in the first year when you’re attending massive first-year lectures,” she says.

The GIG Club’s 150-plus membership sprouted seven years ago from a club called Busking For Smiles, which soon morphed into GIG, says president Matthew Gagnon, a third-year Social Science student. The space in MacEwan Hall draws members throughout the day and there are even guitars available to use for those who don’t have one.

“I came from the Northwest Territories with no friends here. Then, one day, I heard music coming from down the hallway in Mac Hall. I wandered in and now the club is a huge part of my life,” says Gagnon. “It’s a huge stress-reliever for all of us.”