Humans of the OWee: Michiel Avezaat (English)

In Humans of the OWee we talk to people who have a special role on that day. Today, Michiel Avezaat of Lijn 7 sings his best songs at the cantus*.

“I started a band in my student period. Besides playing at funfairs, the Nijmeegse Vierdaagse and Paaspop, we play cantuses in student cities. There are a lot of men at  TU Delft and it’s a nice organised chaos where the Rector Magnificus downs a whole beer in one go. In other cities, we often play in big tents and they don’t always have tables, which makes it less a cantus.”

“In my everyday life, I’m a financial advisor. I studied public administration and management, economy and law at Rotterdam. I’ve been on the other side of the party since I was 18. I’m now nearly 45 and that makes me the oldest member of the band. We perform almost 40 times a year. It doesn’t take that much energy, but I do lose sleep!”

‘We look for songs which gets the crowd going’

“This band is a hobby. That’s a big difference with other bands as they have to play as often as they can. We do ask a commercial fee, but we invest it in free headbands and caps. We once had a cantus in Delft and Utrecht on the same day. We flew by helicopter from Delft to Utrecht. Way too extravagant, the trip is faster by car, but it was the best entrance ever!”

“When we choose our repertoire, we look for songs which gets the crowd going, which people dance and sing along to. We talk to someone from the OWee Board in advance who makes some suggestions. But we always start with the national anthem, the Wilhelmus.

“It’s a very special feeling when the whole crowd sings. Not every band can get the whole audience singing. Maybe it’s because I keep asking people to sing along. I’m not afraid to stop the music if they don’t.”

“I want to continue doing this for a long time. Maybe until I retire, maybe even longer. But I don’t want to be a pathetic old singer, I will stop before then. But as long as I like it, I will continue!”

*The cantus is a tradition at Dutch universities involving drinking beer (or water) while singing. There are arbitrary ‘rules’ regarding cantus etiquette which, if violated, involves more drinking or other social ‘punishments’.  

More Humans of the OWee: Parade driver Jeroen Overman, the Panda of Outsite fraternity and Jurjen Tiel Groenestege and Jonathan Heemskerk of the student association forum.

Roos van Tongeren / Redacteur

Editor Redactie

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