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Meet the Podium’s Resident Guitar Player

(Photo Credit: Shannon Crowley / The ASP)

By Shannon Crowley | September 27, 2021

Sophomore, Ronan Dougherty, has been playing music on the Podium for the past year. This semester he has been playing the guitar around two times a week, from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. or later.

Playing on the Podium stemmed from COVID-19 boredom. He knew it would be a good way to get out of his room and get some fresh air while being able to, in his words, “practice loudly.”

The self-taught musician learned how to play the guitar five years ago. Dougherty would practice for eight hours a day when he first started playing the guitar.

Last Tuesday, while Dougherty was playing, he attracted many people to find the music, including a university police officer.

The officer told Dougherty to lower the music because a professor made a complaint about the loud music. Although he did not get written up, the jam session was put on hold for a few minutes. This was the first complaint Dougherty has received in the past year.

Kelsey Destra, a junior who was sitting on the fountain listening to Dougherty said, “His beat is awesome. I like that he chooses to provide some music. It’s bad enough the fountain isn’t in so he’s bringing some enjoyment to the podium.”

A group of students walking to the lecture centers screamed out “I love that dude” before they disappeared down the steps.

Dougherty usually goes to the podium on his own but has played with other people as well. The musician prefers playing alone, only because he can control what goes on.

Mike Spencer, a UAlbany alumnus who graduated last May, stopped by to say hi. Spencer had played with Dougherty last year when he first started hitting the podium. “Everyone was down because of covid and the music uplifted people. It was kind of needed. It puts people in a good mood. Someone even gave us money,” Spencer said.

The guitarist owns five guitars but only brings two to campus. He started UAlbany with one amplifier and added another to the collection after playing on the podium.

Dougherty likes playing on the Podium this year because there are people around to talk to. Playing during the day while people are going to class is also a way for him to meet fellow UAlbany musicians.

The musician does want to join a band and is planning to play at the podium until he finds one. He says, “I like to give people something to sit down and chill out and do whatever. It’s fun to see humans around after a long time.”

And, contrary to popular belief, playing the guitar for that many hours does not hurt his fingers.


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