People of Georgian: Bruce Springsteen plays pivotal role in communications specialist’s life

Feb. 17, 2023

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People of Georgian: Meet Elaine Murray

My love affair with Bruce Springsteen and his music probably began in Grade 13.

The River came out in 1981 and it was just one of those albums that when I think back to Grade 13 and high school parties, it was a really pivotal soundtrack of that year.

But I actually didn’t see Bruce live in concert until the reunion tour of the band after Bruce was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

A person takes a selfie in a concert crowd next to a stage where Bruce Springsteen is performing.
Elaine has seen Bruce Springsteen perform about 25 times.

‘Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night’

One time, my friend Kimberly and I decided we were going to see him last minute in Hershey, Pennsylvania because we wanted to see one more show that tour.

We bought tickets and drove the 10 hours to Hershey, and we figured we’d just get a hotel room that night.

Of course, there was some little league tournament going on in Pennsylvania so we couldn’t get a hotel anywhere in Hershey.

So we got on the road and we’re driving and it’s 2 a.m., and we’re like “It’s OK, ‘Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night,’” like Bruce sings.

We pulled into a Comfort Inn in a little town called Shamokin Dam, and they had one room left.

We always joke about that – yeah, we’re just going to drive 10 hours, no hotel, pay way too much for tickets… But it was a cool experience.

A close-up of a person wearing a black jacket and hat, pink scarf, and holding a guitar with a strap covered in suns.
Music has always been important in Elaine’s life – from learning the piano and guitar, to playing trumpet, trombone and saxophone in high school, to writing her own songs.

Seeing Bruce in concert 25 times

For people who are really big Bruce fans, they’ve been seeing him since forever.

I’ve seen him probably close to 25 times, which seems like a lot to some people, but it’s nothing in the Springsteen fan world, where some fans have seen him hundreds of times.

A person dressed in black sits on a chair and sings a song while playing the guitar.
Elaine is one of the founding members of Georgian’s Variety Show, which featured the talents of students and employees and raised money for student entrance scholarships.

If I could use a time machine…

I always say if I could use a time machine, I would go back to 1978, The Darkness on The Edge of Town Tour, and I would go see, like, 100 shows.

When I first saw him live, I was sitting in my seat and looking at all the people who were standing at the front of the stage. I remember thinking, “How do I get down there?”

I got to the front of the stage at a show in Hamilton. Once you’ve been in the general admission mob, you don’t want to go back to seats.

Bruce is a man who just enjoys his job. He said that he goes out and performs every night like it’s the first time.

I love that he’s a bit self-deprecating on stage, he doesn’t mind looking silly, he has a great time and it comes across.

Feeling a personal connection to Bruce’s music

I’m a word person, and especially his earlier albums are just little mini stories and essays. There’s always a song that connects to you.

The year that my mom passed away, there was an album that came out, Magic. My sister Andrea and I were listening to it while driving home, and the song I’ll Work for Your Love came on.
The opening line is “Pour me a drink, Theresa,” which is my mom’s name.

The connection was just kind of cool. There’s always a song that fits any kind of situation, whether you’re happy or sad, and Bruce can cheer you up.

Two people wearing black stand next to each other in front of a black backdrop reading Indigo.
Elaine met Bruce Springsteen at a book signing.

Meeting Bruce: ‘I was going to be super cool’

The year his autobiography came out, he held a book signing in Toronto, and Kimberly and I got tickets.

We lined up, and I had our interaction all planned in my head. I was going to be super cool.

I had a joke I wanted to share with him to make him laugh, but I was wearing my E Street Band T-shirt so when I walked up he spoke first. “Oh, E-Streeter!”

That threw me totally off and I went totally nerdy: “Oh my gosh it’s so nice to meet you!” Just rambled on.

I got to hug him, which was great, but I said nonsense basically.

Two people, one of whom is wearing a graduation gown, smile with their heads touching.
Elaine is pictured with her sister, Andrea, at her graduation from a Laurentian at Georgian program.

Retiring after 31 years at Georgian

Music has always played a big role, and my dream was to become a musician.

I lacked the theoretical knowledge for a music career and wound up in graphic design.

But it led me to a job at Georgian, where I took a bachelor’s degree in English, and eventually I became a communications specialist at the college.

I feel extremely grateful and proud of my time here at Georgian.

Elaine Murray, Communications Specialist in Georgian’s Marketing, Communications and Recruitment department, and an alumna of the English program at Laurentian University’s former partnership with Georgian (class of 2010).

A note from Elaine, who is retiring this spring after 31 years.

I’ve met so many wonderful people – employees and students – through my work and with the variety show and other college events. The people are what truly has made working here, not work. I’ve made so many connections and lifelong friendships and feel immensely blessed.

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