Humans of McMaster: Eileen O’Boyle
The Silhouette: Please introduce yourself.
Eileen O’Boyle: My name is Eileen. I'm a fourth-year kinesiology student doing a minor in biology. I am currently the president of Absolute Pitch, which is the McMaster [University] show choir. I've been part of the club for three years and this is my first year as the president.
What is Absolute Pitch?
It's kind of like Glee but without the drama. We have two performances and we practice throughout the year. Basically, it culminates in a big showcase where we combine singing and dancing on stage with a live band. We're lucky enough to have a live band that performs with us, which is a cool flair. We also have a coffee house that's more chill — there's no dancing involved in that one. People can sing and bring instruments to play to express themselves artistically and, really, that's what the club's all about.
Can you tell us a little bit more just about those events?
The coffee house is mainly cast-driven. Anything that the cast wants to perform, they can audition and perform on stage. There'll be one song that the whole group will perform that's also chosen by the cast and we usually have a bake sale too. It's just very cozy. The final showcase in April is definitely a much larger scheme. Each year there's a different theme. This year we're doing musicals. As the [production executive] team, we come together and we choose a bunch of full-cast songs, so everyone in the whole ensemble can perform. We also have small groups, which usually are about a third of the cast. That usually comes out to about eight or nine songs for vocals and choreography.
What sparked your interest in dance?
I've been dancing since I was a little kid. I started at my first studio when I was about four. My parents saw that I was always moving to music and there are all these pictures of me just trying to do weird things with my body and doing things like the splits. So they put me in dance and I really flourished. I loved it and then I was able to work at my studio. It's been a long journey and it's something that has remained the same throughout my whole life which is really nice.
Do you think your background in dance has influenced your choice to pursue kinesiology?
In some aspects. I think the major thing that influenced me to go into kinesiology was that I played lots of sports growing up. But, when I decided to go into kinesiology, I was thinking about what do I want to do with my life? This isn’t the case anymore but I wanted to go into physiotherapy. I had a really bad injury when I was playing soccer and the physiotherapists that I had were just absolutely amazing. They took me from "I can barely walk" to "I can play sports again". It was just so impactful and I wanted to help people like this.
What is one of your favourite memories with Absolute Pitch?
There are so many of them. One is that we always have one rehearsal that's for the whole day. We get to run everything with the band usually for the first time. Our band's incredible, I cannot tell you how good they are. I hadn't gotten to be there for a lot of the band rehearsals so this was my first time seeing the whole thing come together. It was a mind-blowing moment because you never know what will really work or come together when you're practicing.
What would you say to someone who is considering joining Absolute Pitch?
Put yourself out there. You don't know if you're going to enjoy it unless you try. In Absolute Pitch, we've cultivated an environment that is welcoming, open to new ideas, open to people trying things for the first time. A lot of our cast are not at all trained by professionals or anything like that. They just love to sing in the shower and then it's turned into this great passion. But you'd never know if you don't do it. Go for it. Why not?