Senior Profile: Thorne finds community through music, memes

Kirt Thorne is pictured. Courtesy Kirt Thorne

If you have frequented the “Tufts Memes for Quirky Queens” Facebook group, you have most likely come across Kirt Thorne.

“It would have to be my numerous posts on the meme page,” Thorne said, when discussing what people know him most for on campus. “Any degree of fame, or notoriety, associated with me comes from the meme page.”

In addition to posting popular content on the page, Thorne is responsible for helping popularize the Primal Scream on campus He is also a talented clarinet player for the Tufts University Wind Ensemble and has been photographing various groups and organizations across campus. As he completes his senior year, he reflects on why he came to Tufts, what defined his experience here and what he will leave behind.

Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., Thorne is a double major in economics and French. He mentioned committing to Tufts after his experience at Jumbo Days.

“It’s a classic cliched story where you come to a school and it feels like home, but it did,” he said.

Thorne said that he had a preexisting interest in both of his majors and wanted to devote significant time to the fields.

“I just loved language,” he said about French. “I knew that majoring in it meant that I could spend enough time where it would be worthwhile for me.”

Thorne cited similar reasons for majoring in economics as well.

The “Tufts Memes for Quirky Queens” group was formed in the spring of Thorne’s first year in 2017. He mentioned seeing groups for other schools and was happy to see one created at Tufts. He decided to get involved after joining the pages of other schools.

“I liked the idea of seeing memes about things I did not understand,” Thorne said. “I definitely think the best ones I have seen have required some background knowledge about the school.”

Thorne mentioned that having prior knowledge about various aspects of the Tufts campus makes the content relatable and inspires what he posts on the page.

“The community aspect of the page comes from the fact that the posts are ‘Tufts inside jokes,’” he said.

Thorne said that he loves the community aspect when posting on the page. He also said that the number of people who liked his content was surprising to him.

“I expected only a few people would resonate with things that I found funny about the school. It is nice to know that there are people who agree with me about things that deserve a laugh,” he said. 

Beyond his frequent posting on this page, a central element of Thorne’s Tufts experience has been his involvement with the Wind Ensemble. Having been involved since the second semester of his first year at Tufts, Thorne said that he has found a tight-knit community that has kept him coming back each semester.

“The people [in the Wind Ensemble] have been defining for me. The kind of person that finds the ensemble enjoyable is exactly the kind of person I want to be friends with,” Thorne said.

Thorne credited the director of the ensemble, John McCann, with engendering a community-oriented and stress-free environment that made him enjoy the ensemble thoroughly.

“The community that [McCann] has built in the last 30 years and the kind of person that he seeks out for [the] Wind Ensemble is just wonderful to be around,” Thorne said.

In addition to this, he said that the music itself represents a nice break from the academic rigor that a typical Tufts student spends a lot of time on.

Thorne said that he was initially involved with the Wind Ensemble to maintain his exposure to the clarinet, but later he continued doing it because of how much he enjoyed the community aspects of the group.

As a defining moment that captured this aspect, he mentioned the trip the ensemble took to New Orleans in 2018. 

“This was the moment I felt fully immersed and engaged in the group. Staying in a hostel with many people I did not know that well and playing games with them late in the night made me realize how integral the ensemble was to me,” he said.

Thorne said that he has been playing the clarinet since the fourth grade, and that the Music Advancement Program he participated in at The Juilliard School was instrumental in setting the foundation for him.

He said that the weekly meetings had a range of classes that included orchestra, theory and a clarinet choir.

“It was a marathon of music, which was brilliant, but was incredibly formative for me,” Thorne said. “Those four years of doing that every week taught me how to play the clarinet.”

Beyond his community involvement with the Wind Ensemble and the Facebook group, Thorne said that he thinks his legacy will comprise of something he created to connect the campus at large, the Primal Scream.

“An incredible defining moment for me at Tufts was the first Primal Scream,” he said. “I did not expect any people to show up, but so many did.”

Ultimately, looking back on his time at Tufts, the Primal Scream stands for the kind of durable tradition Thorne wants to leave behind as he moves from Tufts.

“Twenty years from now, I want to tell people working at the school that my favorite thing was the Primal Scream, and for them to tell me that they are still doing it,” he said.

Beyond Tufts, Thorne will be working at a fixed-income investment management company in New York. As he leaves, his parting advice for incoming first-year students is to cherish all of the memories that come their way.

“Treasure every moment, even the seemingly non-eventful ones,” Thorne said. “As someone whose Tufts career was ended prematurely, I can safely say that you never know what memories will stick with you.”