The Hive’s Tiny Patio Concert gives NPR a run for its money

Artist plays guitar during live music performance
Bryan McNair HM ’24 performed at the Hive’s “Tiny Patio Concert,” along with student acts Aphelion and Tea Rooom. (Sarah Ziff • The Student Life)

Transformed into a cozy, intimate setting, The Hive became the perfect backdrop for the first ever “Tiny Patio Concert,” a riff on NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concert.”

On Sept. 22, throughout three half-hour sets, audiences enjoyed performances of original songs and covers from student acts B5 Guitar, Aphelion and Tea Rooom.

As students settled into their seats, lounging on arm chairs, bean bags and assorted pillows, the Hive buzzed with chatter in anticipation of the featured student performers. One of the organizers, Olivia Hewitt PZ ’22, described her hopes for the show.

We wanted to host a night of music that felt approachable, joyful and community-oriented,” Hewitt said. “We strung flowers, eucalyptus and string lights overhead and had a lot of fun transforming a familiar space into a space of wonder, performance and surprise.”

Bryan McNair HM ’24 opened the concert on his acoustic guitar. With many years of musical composition under his belt, McNair decided to play only original songs for the full 30 minutes of his set. One of these songs was written the day before the concert.

“That’s the first performance I ever did all original songs,” McNair said. “I was nervous going into it for that reason, but … a lot of the people I knew were there. I felt supported. So I was like okay, I’m just going to go for this.”

Following a short break, vocal duo Aphelion, composed of Bryce Bailey HM ’25 and Fred Bolarinwa HM ’25, took the stage. Tea Rooom accompanied Bailey’s and Bolarinwa’s live vocals.

Hewitt explained the risk they took with the fusion of Tea Rooom’s mellow instrumentals with Aphelion’s uptempo vocals.

Someone on our team had the idea to have Aphelion perform accompanied by Tea Rooom’s live instrumental music, to create a jazzy, chill blend of their two styles that would fit the atmosphere we were hoping to create,” Hewitt said. “It was a gamble, because we were trying to combine two pretty distinct styles … But it was such a success.”

“[We] had a lot of fun transforming a familiar space into a space of wonder, performance, and surprise.”

When Aphelion finished, Tea Rooom performed their own set. Jeremy Martin PO ’25, Aden Cicourel PO ’26, Alex Arguelles PZ ’24, Cece Malone PZ ’24, Nico Santamaria PO ’25 and Dylan Yin PO ’23 closed out the night with covers of familiar tunes, including “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. and “Right Side of My Neck” by Faye Webster. Attendee Elsie Okon PO ’26 explained becoming immersed in the performance.

“The song choices were so good; it was stuff that people knew, things you know that you can sing along to, [with] everyone enjoying it,” Okon said.

Okon, a musician herself, found the concert to be a much-needed break from everyday routines.

“I think it was a great time, a great opportunity for people to kind of come and relax,” Okon said.

McNair is a member of the Jam Society at Harvey Mudd College. He appreciates the open-minded and generous spirit of the music community at the 5Cs.

“I learned a lot about the different bands when I was working at the Jam Society, and there’s a lot of fun bands that perform at KSPC,” McNair said. “Everyone in the music scene knows each other … It’s not hard to get involved.”

Bailey started Aphelion as a way to take a break from school and found community in the process.

“I feel like the climate of Harvey Mudd can kind of be tough sometimes,” Bailey said.  “So it was just one random day where … we were like, oh yeah, maybe if we just went to the studio and started recording things.” 

Bailey appreciated how The Hive acts as a platform for experimentation and collaboration. 

“Having resources like The Hive or the Jam Society allows you to collaborate with people from the different schools really easily,” Bailey said. “There’s a ‘We Emanate Christmas’ album coming up, and stuff like that really wouldn’t be possible anywhere else, just being able to really know the other artists personally and have fun with it.”

The Hive Tiny Patio Concert offered students a place to unwind, support each other and hear the rich variety of talent at the 5Cs. Okon emphasized her admiration for the student performers.

“The musicianship was on another level,” Okon said. “They were performing to such a degree that I felt like, wow, it was a sight to see and there were sounds to hear.”

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