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No contact, no problem: Students celebrate LDOC virtually

<p>This year's LDOC festivities featured a Zoom concert headlined by duo Two Friends.</p>

This year's LDOC festivities featured a Zoom concert headlined by duo Two Friends.

Two Friends, turtles and the letter "C" made an appearance at online last day of classes celebrations. 

Wednesday night’s concert, which marked the end of spring semester classes and capped off a day of programming from the Duke University Union, was held over Zoom after classes were moved online and Duke closed campus to most students. The event was headlined by Two Friends, who create popular song mashups called “Big Bootie Mixes.”

The format might have been different than normal, but the show was eventful nonetheless. 

After an opening performance by Small Town Records artist Logan, the duo of Eli Sones and Matthew Halper played an hour-long set crammed full of their trademark mixes and remixes. While they couldn’t make sure the crowd was on their feet and bouncing to the beat, they told their Zoom audience that they’d take their word for it anyway—and they didn’t care where anyone was. 

“Doesn’t matter if you’re in N.C., the U.S., somewhere else, Pluto, Eli’s apartment in his bed right now, I need y’all to sing it loud,” Halper told the students watching on Zoom. 

Two Friends have a long history in and around Durham. They first played at Duke in 2013 while still in college, and they returned in 2017 for a show at Shooters II Saloon. 

While the pair adapted to their new virtual stage, the crowd was happy to play along. The students, who needed Duke login credentials to access the livestream, took advantage of an open chat function to “clap” along by typing the letter “C” thousands of times.

Two Friends made sure to leave the crowd with one last prompt while urging them to “get on your beds, get on your couches, get on something.”

“I need every single one of y'all to do something in the chat,” Halper said. “Turtles? Turtles in the chat, let's go!”

First-year Robby Phillips watched the LDOC concert while on a Zoom call with his friends. Streaming the concert, he wrote, made them almost feel like they were together for it. However, Phillips expressed disappointment that he was kicked out of the livestream for referencing “poppers,” or alkyl nitrates, a group of legal chemicals often inhaled for their quick high, in the chat.

Despite his removal, Phillips wrote in an email that the Two Friends concert was “probably the best we could get given the circumstances.”

“I just wish I had been allowed to stay the whole time, considering we were already deprived of the rest of the real LDOC,” he wrote.


Slideshow: A quiet campus on an unusual LDOC | Students would usually crowd Abele Quad on the last day of classes, celebrating and preparing for the annual LDOC concert. This year, with classes moved online and few students still on campus, the quad was quiet.

DUU president Frank Thomas, a junior, felt that the virtual concert brought the community together—the aim of the event every year.

“It is important for people to remember that the goal of LDOC is to bring the entire Duke community together, in a celebration of a collective year's worth of hard work, dedication, and involvement,” Thomas wrote in an email. “While this year's celebration looked differently than historical LDOCs, the spirit was the same and it definitely accomplished its goal.”

Thomas wrote that the “engaging and personal” nature of the virtual performance was impressive. Though he couldn’t make it to the daytime programming events because of classes, Thomas also wrote that he was excited to see the at-home LDOC celebrations his peers shared with him.

“I watched as so many friends woke up to homes decorated with the LDOC logo and a special breakfast or dinner,” he wrote. “It really is a testament to the way in which LDOC is a full community celebration, and even apart, we deserve to take time for ourselves and celebrate!”

He especially commended the 2019-20 co-chairs of DUU’s LDOC committee, junior Catherine Oliver and senior Allegra Aguiar. 

Oliver said the committee knew that they wouldn’t be able to have an in-person celebration when Duke extended restrictions on University-sponsored events through May 7. 

“That’s where the idea for the virtual concert was kind of born,” she said. “We had been talking about all of these artists who had been doing virtual concerts on Instagram Live and how we had been watching and enjoying them. We were like, ‘Is there potentially something there?’”

The LDOC committee chose Two Friends to headline the virtual concert because of their style of music, and because they noticed that lots of people liked the lineup of DJs headlining Instagram Live concerts.

“They use a lot of songs that everyone knows, and so that in our lineup of artists we thought would be the most fun,” Oliver said.

After reaching out, Two Friends were eager to work with LDOC and make the concert happen, and Oliver said they were “really easy to work with.”

As well as the concert, the committee also had to adjust the daytime activities, as a silent disco and succulent-making weren’t virtually replicable. They looked at what other organizations had been doing online and worked with them to make their activities part of the LDOC programming.

This included segments from the Duke Wellness Center’s Moments of Mindfulness activities, including yoga, sleight of hand and Communitea Conversations. Duke @ Nite, a DUU committee whose Thursday Trivia events went online after the transition to remote learning, helped set up a National College Trivia Challenge later that day with Duke Recreation and Physical Education. The VisArts committee put up coloring pages for students to download and color throughout the day.

While LDOC will not release the original intended concert line-up for the time being, Oliver confirmed that they are “looking into plans for showcasing those artists in the fall,” depending on university and government regulations.

“We’re just trying to plan as normal and see what else we can do with these artists who we’re really excited to bring,” Oliver said.

Despite not being able to celebrate at Duke, Oliver said she found the online concert to be a great experience.

“I have a couple of siblings, so we just kind of turned it on in our basement and just danced around,” she told The Chronicle. “I think it went really well. I think a lot of people enjoyed it.”

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