The band Dogpark performing on Milhiser Green in September
Dogpark performing at Spider Day Homecoming

Spider Homecoming

This one's a bop

The soundtrack to Spider Day Homecoming had a theme: live performances by alumni you might remember strumming around campus during your student days. For the band Room for Improvement, however, time under the stage lights began decades after they tossed their graduation caps.

About three years ago, friends Kevin McQueen, R’89, GB’98, and Dave DeWalle, GB’04, attended an event where the performers left something to be desired. “We could do that,” McQueen joked. “[Let's] start a band.”

A few months later, the first practice session was held. With McQueen on guitar and DeWalle on bass, shaky melodies floated from McQueen’s garage as a small group of friends dusted off instruments and pieced together a set list.

“Dave used to joke that we had five songs,” McQueen said, “three of which were ‘Wagon Wheel.’”

Room for Improvement members include spouses and UR staff members, a few of whom took some convincing before agreeing to share their musical talents.

McQueen and DeWalle both described the chance to perform on campus decades later as a surreal experience. “I’ve lived most of my life not being overly musical,” DeWalle said. “Now to perform [here] is a very special opportunity that I never would have dreamed about when I was a student.”

Will Harford, ’23, however, did have that dream as a student when he started the band Dogpark during his junior year. “I definitely [felt] a little washed up coming back to play on campus,” he said. “But [Richmond] still feels like home.”

In the company of one other university band — Faculty Lounge — Room for Improvement and Dogpark shared their repertoires under the glow of Millhiser Green, putting on a show for their fellow Spiders who are not part of a band — yet.

Kevin McQueen and Mickey Quiñones on stage playing electric guitar at the Spider Day Homecoming evening celebration
Kevin McQueen, R’89 and GB’98, left, performs with his band Room for Improvement at Spider Day Homecoming. They were joined by special guest guitarist Mickey Quiñones, right, who is dean of the Robins School of Business.