In third grade, Kaila Halpine, now a senior psychology major, took part in her first stage performance at the 2008 Randolph Elementary School talent show. She played a 15-second song her grandma taught her, entitled “Maybe,” on the ukulele. Today, Halpine rocks her heart out on stages all across Lincoln — playing guitar, drums and vocals — for four different bands.
Following her flings with ukulele and violin as a child, Halpine’s music career really began in high school when she sold her violin and bought a guitar. She then joined her first band, which went nameless, with her brother and a couple friends. According to Halpine, she wanted to learn to play guitar because of her love for Panic! At The Disco and her desire to perform.
“I really wanted to play Panic! At The Disco Songs,” Halpine said. “I wanted to do it for myself, but I think there’s an element of wanting to share what you can do. I wanted to perform.”
From there, Halpine met Luke Molzer, frontman of griffoctopuss, while working at Guitar Center and started playing with the band. While playing with her other band Motel Citizens at the Great Plains Music Festival, Halpine met Colten Welch from PEACHIE, who was looking for a guitarist. She joined, bringing her band membership to three.
Then, in the summer of 2020, Halpine joined the all-girl group Saving Fiona at the request of her high school friend, Madeline Schmit, who is a senior emerging media arts major. Schmit said she had started a band with two other friends and they were searching for a drummer. She asked Halpine if she knew anyone, and since she didn’t, Halpine did it herself.
“It absolutely blew my mind, watching her learn drums,” Schmit said. “She just watched videos and practiced. From day one she knew how to keep a beat. She has so much natural ability, and she’s such a hardworking person. If she wants to accomplish something, she’ll just do it.”
While she often appears to have it all together, Halpine said that juggling all these bands and being a student can be overwhelming. But she said she keeps herself organized with her Google Calendar, prioritizing her time between bands on an as-needed basis.
“I definitely get overwhelmed from time to time,” Halpine said. “I rely on my Google Calendar. So if someone has a band obligation they want to create, I have to look at my calendar. For my bands, it’s first-come first-serve. Whoever reserves Kaila first, gets Kaila for that show.”
Even with her busy schedule, Halpine said that she loves all of her bands. She said she enjoys helping her friends with their music and helping do what they love.
“Everyone I play with are all my friends,” Halpine said. “In all of my supporting roles, I’m helping my friends get what they want. They get to perform.”
Her selflessness holds true in the eyes of her friends. Schmit said that if she could share one thing about Halpine with the world, it would be that she’s a good person.
“She’s good in ways that you don’t even realize until you really get to know her,” Schmit said. “Even then, you discover new things everyday. Everything I learn about her just makes me like her more.”
Halpine said that she doesn’t exactly know what her future holds. She said she is happy taking a psychology route or a music route, just so long as music is always involved in her life.
“I always want to be playing music, or sharing it somehow,” Halpine said. “I think it would be cool if I could just play music and teach. If I could make a living, enough to support me and a family, that would be awesome.”