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Sam Brownson '12

We Are Knox...

Sam Brownson

2012 Graduate

Holland, Michigan

Philosophy Major


For some, the road to Knox is a bit more winding than it is for others. For
instance, take Sam Brownson '12, a philosophy major who came to Knox
only after he'd studied for a year at Belmont University and taken time off to make an album in Minneapolis with his former band, Hurricane Hearts.

"We basically took a year to make an album, to play as many shows as we could, and get a website up," said Brownson of his time with Hurricane Hearts. "Just generally, do music for a year."

It was during this time that Brownson applied to Knox, and after a summer tour playing the nation's dive bars, he came to Knox.

"My choice to come to Knox was as much a personal choice as it was a professional choice," said Brownson. "I really appreciated the music community here, and while I didn't want to major in music, I knew that I would be able to balance both academics and music. That was the main reason I came. It ended up being just a great place to network with people in all artistic fields."

Brownson isn't exaggerating. Since coming to Knox, he's designed music for the Theatre Department's production of A Lie of the Mind, sold his solo LP Knaves Turned Honest in the Bookstore, completed an ethnomusicology project during a study abroad term in India, wrote and performed a song in honor of the College's 175th anniversary, and helped to launch a band called Poets & Peasants, which has quickly become a hit amongst students. Additionally, he helped to found the Songwriter's Guild, a club on campus that allows musicians to critique and workshop each other's original compositions.

"That's the main purpose of the guild now: to have a place where musicians can come and collaborate, and then show that to the public," said Brownson.

With contributions like these, it's difficult to predict what the Knox music scene will look like in coming years without first thinking of Brownson. But he has his own plans for the future, too. Come winter term, he'll be designing inter-scene music for Professor Liz Carlin-Metz's production of Twelfth Night. Brownson is also planning a summer tour of the Midwest with Poets & Peasants.

Yet as Brownson looks forward, he can't help thinking that he made the right decision -- back then, in his past, when he was playing his acoustic guitar in a dive bar.

"I knew my education wasn't going to be run of the mill," said Brownson. "It was going to be juggling a lot of different interests because that's just the kind of person I am. At the center of that, for me, is music."