Rippowam Cisqua School
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Collin McLoughlin '03 Performed at RCS
On Friday, November 18th, 2011 the Rippowam Cisqua Upper Campus Playhouse was alive with energy. On the heels of the first day of exams, fifth through ninth grade students were greeted with an end of the week assembly that was anything but typical. Collin McLoughlin, a Bedford native and an alumnus from the Rippowam Cisqua class of 2003, was waiting when the students arrived. Mr. McLoughlin, an accomplished singer/songwriter and burgeoning “YouTube” star wowed the audience of nearly three hundred students and faculty with a short acoustic set. While the musical performance was a sterling one, equally significant was Mr. McLoughlin’s message, which was uncanny in its consistency with the core of the Rippowam Cisqua philosophy – be true to yourself, don’t be afraid to take risks, and follow your passion.
After playing two songs (Chasing Dreams, a cut off his solo album, followed a version of the song Save the World Tonight, made popular by the group Swedish House Mafia), Collin shared his fascinating journey with the students. His musical career began back in 2001 at Rippowam Cisqua when he picked up a guitar for the first time in music teacher Bill Fornara’s class (Mr. Fornara, who watched Collin’s performance with pride, is still an RCS music teacher). As part of the program, all middle school students are required to learn the basics of guitar. For many, it sparks what may become a lifelong interest but, for others, it is simply part of the music and arts curriculum at the School. Collin shared that he didn’t love the guitar that first year, noting that early acoustic guitar staples didn’t resonate with him at the time. However, when he picked the instrument up again at the Wooster School, where he attended high school, a spark was, in fact, ignited. As Collin put it, he became obsessed. He found himself constantly playing and writing songs, which he contends were not good, but in listening to this up-and-coming star, it’s hard to believe!
After graduating from the Wooster School, Collin went on to Colgate University and then to NYU for graduate studies in Music Business. During his college years, Collin continued writing and recording songs for acoustic guitar. Following a successful tour to support his guitar-based music, he joined a hip-hop/R&B group in college. Collin was involved in all aspects of the business: writing and singing, co-producing songs, and managing the group. Their initial demo tape was met with rave reviews by fans and critics alike, leading to a college tour across the east coast. During this phase, Collin realized he loved being up on a stage, connecting with a crowd, and that it was what he wanted to do. Last spring, Collin made the bold decision to put his graduate studies on hold and pursue his dream. He has performed with Wale, Fabolous, K’naan, Sam Adams, and Lupe Fiasco, all of which have served to open doors for him. In addition, he’s gone on to do a number of YouTube cover songs, one of which (Stereo Hearts) has realized over 1.2 million views!
After singing, and sharing his background, Collin showed the video for a version of Gavin DeGraw’s Not Over You, that was released on YouTube on Monday, November 21, 2011. Since Collin’s appearance at RCS was on November 18th, these lucky kids were able to see the video before it was even released!
As fun as it was to watch Collin perform, his repartee with the children during a Q&A session was equally lively, with questions that ranged from “What team were you on?” (for RCS alums, he was on the Red Team), “How long is the program at NYU and why did you leave?” (He knew that, to really make a go of it, he had to pursue his dream full time), “Have you ever worked with Justin Bieber?” (unfortunately, no, he would love to!), “What sports did you play?” (lacrosse and crew, and both team sports were instrumental in helping him develop the qualities of persistence and resilience that are essential to making it in such a tough business) and “Were you in the sixth grade musical?” (Yes, participation in the musical at RCS is a requirement for 6th grade students and his role as the lead in Tartan was his first real exposure to being on stage). Before playing his video, Collin shared with the kids how scary it was to take this risk and his realization that, if he didn’t, he would always wonder “What if?” He also reinforced for the students how important it is in school to be open-minded, try lots of different things, and then, when you identify a passion, pursue it … no matter what!
To learn more about Collin, you can visit his website,
, or search for him on YouTube where he is a regular presence! Take a look at the short clip (below) of Collin's visit to RCS. To read about Collin's performance on
A coeducational, independent country day school for students in grades PreKindergarten through Nine
Lower Campus: 325 West Patent Road, Mount Kisco, NY 10549 phone: (914) 244-1200 Upper Campus: 439 Cantitoe Street, Bedford, NY 10506 phone: (914) 244-1250