Fr. Andy Thon, S.J. grew up listening to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, collecting many 45s and albums, and playing disc jockey with all his records. His love of music was more than just a hobby. In fact, his last part-time job before he entered the Jesuit seminary was as a DJ at a small radio station.
And Fr. Andy kept his interest going by carrying his record collection whereever his various vocational positions took him — including here at Marquette.
Fr. Andy has enjoyed all the different and changing genres of music through the years. He especially enjoys playing music at special events like Marquette’s Midnight Run’s Walk/Run fundraising event, Senior Citizens Prom, and the Hunger Clean-up. For the Hunger Clean-up, Fr. Andy plays morning and service-related music. When the Jesuit schools’ Heartland Delta conference met at Marquette several years ago, he put together songs that related to each of the schools. He even played the theme from the “I Love Lucy” show for the Spring Hill College group in honor of their president, Fr. Greg Lucey.
When asked what is difficult about this hobby, he reflected that in his younger years as the SJDJ, he would play music at dances and reunion events. “As rock’n’roll music developed into many different types of music,” Fr. Andy reflects, “it became harder to please everyone and often people suggested songs that only they liked. I decided that I actually enjoy interacting with the crowd more than just playing songs.”
However, there are fond memories and fun stories that come along with the unique experiences of being a DJ and vital member of the Marquette community. His traditional opening song for the Hunger Clean-Up as hundreds of participants gather is “Wake Up Little Suzie.” Students congregate on the lawn west of AMU lawn, and the speakers face McCormick Hall.
“Some have accused me of blasting the music at McCormick in retaliation for my being woken up late at night during my many years of living in McCormick,” Fr. Andy says, “That allegation is not totally true!”
And yet we still wonder…
Our hobbies are often reflections of our personal motivations. For Fr. Andy Thon, he initially wanted to be a DJ because he thought he could have some positive impact and be a good role model working with youth. He then chose the Jesuit life with the same motive of wanting to be a teacher.
But, whether he is playing music in support of community service, bringing students and senior adults together in celebration and music, or teaching eager young minds; Fr. Andy Thon certainly has an uplifting impact as Marquette’s very own, SJDJ.