Whether Ruben Gomez is rocking a house show with his band or making crowds laugh with his teammates in the Dead Parrots Society, he is taking Western by storm.
With passions for teaching, music and comedy, Gomez has created quite the repertoire throughout Western’s campus.
A junior majoring in music education, Gomez participates in multiple music scenes around Western. Outside of classes, Gomez’s band, The Dawn Bombs, continues to gain popularity by performing in house shows throughout Bellingham. Yet, while on campus, he spends his time playing violin in Western’s orchestra.
“I really respect and enjoy the value he puts into his interactions with everybody, he values people.”
Alex LaVallee, Gomez’s teammate on the DPS and former roommate, said Gomez has a natural knack for seeing the humor in situations that can be pretty humorless.
LaVallee talked about a prank Gomez pulled on him when they were living together, where he tried to dress as similarly to him as possible. Gomez even shaved his head when LaVallee sheared his own hair.
Gomez said he got started in stand-up comedy and improv as a way to learn to deal with performance anxiety he faced when performing music.
Friend and bandmate Benjamin Waight said Gomez balances his obligations of upholding a music career and performing improv well.
“Ruben is a hell of a bassman,” Waight said, adding that he practices his parts meticulously and is always prepared.
Since he joined the DPS team, Gomez is excited to get into the teaching part of improvisation. He plans on teaching both through the DPS as well as a workshop he designed on his own. After reading more about the art of improv, Gomez plans to teach newcomers himself.
LaVallee has known Gomez since he first started attending the group’s Tuesday meetings. Throughout the past few years,
LaVallee has watched Gomez grow.
“He’s got a great mind for being an educator,” LaVallee said. “He gives a lot more thought into how information is passed along between people.”
Neco Pacheaco, Gomez’s partner as well as teammate, praised Gomez on the way he interacts with others.
“I really respect and enjoy the value he puts into his interactions with everybody,” Pacheaco said. “He values people.”
Gomez saw DPS perform during Summer Start his freshman year and knew he wanted to be a part of it, despite having no improv experience.
Gomez attended the club’s weekly meetings for two years before being invited to join the performance team.
It was difficult at first getting into the swing of things and getting over stage fright, but practicing helped Gomez immensely, he said.
“I’m really proud to say in these last six to eight months, I’ve really tackled performance anxiety and I feel pretty comfortable in front of big crowds of people,” Gomez said.
Since becoming more comfortable, his desire to educate has continued to grow.
“I’m excited to learn more about improv myself, connect with students and just get that teaching experience that I feel like I’ve lacked,” Gomez said.
Gomez isn’t sure where his involvement in improv will go as he graduates and moves on from Western, seeing as music is his main passion. Yet, he still has a bucket list of comedy related activities he would like to complete, such as doing some sort of improv series at Second City in Chicago.
Regardless of what path he chooses to follow, Gomez plans on using his time at Western to teach and learn from other students about the passions they share.