By Olivia Bonardi
Arlington High School senior, Jacob Deck, was crowned “most likely to take over the world” by the senior class this winter, and he continues to exhibit the unique spirit that had him recogni
zed in the first place. In his last months of high school, Jacob has embraced new opportunities, challenges, and passions, all the while creating an unmistakeable reputation for himself. I caught Jacob backstage at the school’s musical, Hello Dolly, on of the busiest weekends of his year. Between costume changes and dance breaks he chatted with me about his past, present and future.
Olivia: Is this the first musical you’ve ever been in?
Jacob: Yes, it is. I’m kind of surprised by this fact. I was in the band in A Christmas Carol, and I had so much fun with everybody then, being around the theater people in their natural environment, I felt like I had to come back.
Olivia: What has been your favorite part about being in the musical?
Jacob: Every day when I come home, I have a new story about what happened that day. Honestly, everyone here has started to feel like my family up on stage. It’s been really special and now I’m thinking, ‘Where has this been all my life’?
Olivia: What other extracurricular activities have you done this year?
Jacob: Well, pretty recently I won the South Shore Folk Music Club youth ballad contest. I sang a Scottish border ballad called “Jock O’ Braidislee”, and I played my harp. It was fun. There’s a video of my performance somewhere on Youtube.
Olivia: When did you learn to play the harp?
Jacob: Well, I wanted to learn for a while, but last summer I actually got a job, so I was able to make enough money to buy one that I found at Wood and Strings in Arlington Center. One afternoon in October, my parents looked out the window and saw me and my friend, Nate Wright, hauling a harp up our hill in a wagon. I’m not the best player, but I’ve been teaching myself with things I found on the internet and from books. I’m lucky because it’s really hard to sound bad on a harp. I’m so glad I picked it up.
Olivia: Do you see yourself pursuing music as a career in the future?
Jacob: Yes, right now I’m looking at small liberal arts colleges with music programs.
Olivia: Are there any that stand out to you at this point?
Jacob: My top choice is this place in Appleton, Wisconsin called Lawrence University. I’m visiting there soon. It’s going to be a great time.
Olivia: What is the biggest draw for you at that school?
Jacob: The music culture. It’s not completely a music school; no one has to do music 100% of the time; you can still have fun, but there definitely is an emphasis on it. Over 50% of the people there are official involved in some sort of music. When I go, I’ll be visiting the Lawrence Fiddle Club.
Olivia: I know you play harp, but around school you’re more well known for playing recorder in the hallways. When did that start?
Jacob: I’ve always really liked the instrument. I picked it up because I needed something to play for a LARP (live action role play) event. I started playing it, then I figured out I really liked playing it. Also it seemed to make people happy. I kept playing once I discovered Irish music, Scottish music, and Breton music, leading me to realize I love it all to bits.
Olivia: It seems like since your recorder is so portable, you’ll play anywhere. Where’s the craziest place you’ve played?
Jacob: Oh, this is a really good story. I was just coming back from this event called “Pipes in the Valley”, which was substantially lamer than it was cracked up to be. It was just a bunch of bagpipe enthusiasts gathering around and listening to people playing really bad covers of electric pipe band songs. It was so lame that my dad found another pub, and we went there instead. I walked in, and I was wearing a checkered vest. I had two little tin whistles in my belt. Someone pointed them out and said, “Oh, you were at pipes in the valley,” and I said, “Yes! yes, I was.” I got into a place where people were asking, “Can you play something?” I said,“Yeah, of course.” There was this girls’ soccer team that had just come off of a game. I think they’d won, and they were really hyped, so when they heard me play, they started clapping and cheering. Someone even tried to step dance. Eventually, I was asked to leave the restaurant to thunderous applause, which I did. That evening was the source of my motto: Why just leave anywhere when you could be politely asked to leave instead.
Olivia: You’re so outgoing, Jacob. To me, it seems all your charisma definitely makes you a good candidate for “most likely to take over the world”. Why do you think you won that?
Jacob: I think it’s because they put the people they don’t know what to do with in that category. I’m kind of surprised; I don’t see myself taking over the world exactly, but I can see myself in a position of that flavor.
Olivia: I could see you taking over the world.
Jacob: Perhaps, we’ll see.