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Far From Juno, close to home: Student band animates Magee’s for Orientation

September 1, 2023

First years, sophomores and upperclassmen alike filed into Jack Magee’s Pub Monday night for the Smith Union spot’s first concert of the academic year: a brief but dynamic show from student band Far From Juno organized for first year orientation.

The group’s setlist included original songs “Trouble in Paradise” and “Runaway,” Carrie Underwood’s classic “Before He Cheats” and Neon Trees’ “Everybody Talks.”

Far From Juno is a newer band at Bowdoin; the group’s five members—Courtney Burnett ’26, Reynaldo Fuentez ’26, Jacob Goodman ’26, Ainsley Morrison ’26 and Annabella Williams ’26—began collaborating last year. Even in its infancy, the band made a strong impression on campus, playing gigs at MacMillan House, Jack Magee’s and Ivies.

The band’s origin story began on Coleman Hall’s first floor, where both Burnett and Fuentez lived. Morrison and Goodman joined them after informal auditions, but the quartet lacked a bass player until Fuentez happened upon Williams.

“I was walking in Smith Union one day and I heard this bass player,” Fuentez said. “I run into the practice room, and I see [Williams] . . . just jamming out.”

Far From Juno’s unlikely beginning belies its members’ diverse musical histories—from Williams’ jazz background to Goodman’s folk country influences.

Burnett, the group’s drummer, said that Far From Juno’s original music reflects its members’ unique backgrounds.

“We wanted to do originals because we wanted to do something that felt like us,” Burnett said. “[The songs] ended up with everybody’s influences in them.”

Before her first year at Bowdoin, Burnett spent her gap year playing for different bands in her hometown of New York City. She credits her experience in New York’s music scene with motivating her to get involved with live music on campus.

Now in its second year, the group hopes that Monday night’s show will encourage first year students to pursue creative endeavors at Bowdoin.

Attendees expressed excitement about getting to see their peers perform live.

“It was my first time going to any kind of band,” Feysal Abdirahaman ’27 said. “[Student bands] are really cool, because not only are they performing, you see them around campus.”

In the future, the band hopes to record and release their original music and explore performance opportunities beyond Brunswick.

“We’re working on [“Trouble in Paradise”] right now,” Burnett said. “It’s a work in progress.”

Burnett added that Far From Juno aims to play shows in Portland this year and hopes that the group will use its experience off campus to enhance Bowdoin’s live music scene.

Though Far From Juno is constantly evolving, its members attest that the enthusiasm of their early auditions-turned-jam sessions has remained the foundation of their creative process.

“It’s so collaborative,” Burnett said. “There’s never any beef. We’re just having fun.”


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