End of Guitar Club adds to school history of short-lived clubs

Visual by Kevin Guo.

The end of a club is similar to that of an unloved business — without customers, its death goes unnoticed and undignified.

Guitar Club is one of the known clubs that will not return next year. The initial energy, fueled by student interest and promotions such as Club Day, has long since dissipated, raising questions about the foundations on which it was built. As of now, weekly meetings rarely contain more than two people and many officers fail to show up.

The end of the club could be, perhaps, expected when the school’s trend of short-lived clubs is taken into consideration.The main problem at fault for crushing member enthusiasm, vice president senior Chung-An Tan believes, was the infrastructure of little planning and poor execution of meetings.

“For interest clubs especially, you need to keep all your members involved,” Tan said. “You need to get to know them on a more friendly basis, so that they actually feel interested and engaged to keep coming. [If] you do the same thing every [meeting] for interest clubs, then it gets boring after awhile.”

According to club commissioner senior Chanel Zhan, special interest groups like Guitar Club are already at a disadvantage because they lack the name recognition of larger clubs. Without a strong backing, these organizations must work harder to earn member loyalty.

“The clubs that thrive are the ones with big names on campus, [so] word of mouth is a factor. Some people have not heard of [smaller] clubs,” Zhan said.

Initially, Guitar Club had no trouble attracting people who were interested in what it could offer. However, the earlier meetings, which revolved around teaching guitar basics, proved to be a turn-off for more seasoned players. The current meetings — which mainly feature casual guitar playing — are on the opposite end of the spectrum, and to new musicians like sophomore Helen Chan, are often too intimidating.

“Sometimes they [do] jamming sessions, and I’m still a beginner … The activities that [Guitar Club is] doing do not [match] all the levels of the members,” Chan said.

Failure to adapt was not the only problem. Like many others before it, Guitar Club lost momentum when the senior officers graduated, leaving the club without a continuation plan. In parallel cases, Calculus teacher Jon Stark recalls the demise of Undead Awareness Club and Aviation Club, both of which he previously advised.

“[It’s] common for clubs here to have some sort of life cycle. When [students] get interested, it gets pursued for awhile. When those people graduate, it withers,” Stark said. “Sometimes, in the last year [senior officers] are distracted with other things. That’s one of the reasons [clubs] go away.”

Too late for resuscitation, the Guitar Club officers sent out an email to members explaining that they would not re-apply as a club next year.

For Tan, this year will mark the end of a weekly tradition.

“It was pretty fun while it lasted, and if [others] want to start [Guitar Club] up, I’m pretty sure they can do it again,” he said. “We [still plan on] playing in the Rally Court at lunch for [Battle of the Bands] the latter part of May. I’m looking forward to that.”