Classmate Chris Chorbajian reflects on Zach, Foo Fighters and "Home"

Hi there! I saw people sharing their stories about Zach and I thought I had to share mine. Allow me to introduce myself and how I knew Zach.

I am Chris Chorbajian, and Zach was a fellow musician. Now to be clear, Zach and I weren't super close. But I still considered him someone I could lean on if I needed help. Matter of fact I have before. One thing Zach and I shared was our intense love for music. Zach was multitalented as I am myself, and we talked occasionally about music. The way we actually bonded was over the Foo Fighters. Zach and I had a great respect for Dave Grohl and how much of an amazing multitalented musician he was. And one song that I like to play that the Foo Fighters never play in concert is the song "Home". Home is a song that isn't screaming, or yelling, or shouting. It's quiet, it's gentle, yet it's full of emotion and passion. There's a video that some of the band members recorded of Dave playing it by himself. And a quote he made (not in the video) is that when he plays this song, the Recording studio turned into a little church. It went from an everyday space to sacred. And they never play it in concert. And it baffled me. It's such an amazing song, why wouldn't they?

 Well, getting back to Zach, whenever he brought his guitar to school, I'd ask to play, and we'd show each other things back and forth. And then one day while practicing in the basement of the music building, he caught me playing "Home" on the piano. He sat outside listening as I sang and as I played and waited respectfully until I finished. And when he came in, he explained how he had been listening and I said "Well why didn't you just come in?" And he said "I have great reverence for that song, I thought you'd ought to finish." And then we got into whatever we were talking about. But that's what I liked about Zach. While he always knew when to have fun and be an open and free spirit, he had great respect for something like that.

 A year passed and it's the spring of 2017. My grandmother passed away, I had to drop Calculus, and life was pretty weird for me. And I discovered a knew band on YouTube under NPR's "Tiny Desk" concerts. And this band was called "Red Baraat". It's like a mix of Gogo music along with traditional Indian music. And it's absolutely amazing and I thought immediately of Zach. During our Senior year band trip, I was in percussion ensemble and we were playing a song called "A Parting Shot". There's this part where we are all on tom toms or bongos or whatever drum you can name and we were playing this sick gogo beat. And I remember looking in the crowd and there was Zach, bouncing around with everyone else. But it was only a glimpse as I had to read the music to keep along. 

So I sent Zach this song, and we got into it. Zach said "wow brother, this stuff is amazing, this is the best thing I've seen of 2017." And we talked a little more. And I told him like hey, life isn't too great my grandmother had passed, and I was feeling a little lost because I had to drop calc because I was failing and it was not a good time. And he said to me "Chris, as someone who has had lots of trails and tribulations, I can tell you for a fact, it gets better." And that made me feel better. Zach really helped me that day and he helped me cope with the loss of my grandmother.

I remember when I got the call about Zach's passing, my heart sank. All I could think of was Zach's radiant smile that could lighten the mood and ambience of any room. And I was sad because the wake and funeral all conflicted with my school work I was doing during the summer semester. 

A month passed since Zach's Funeral, and it was quiet in my household. I decided to sit down and dust off our piano. I was alone and I started to work on the song I have been writing for the past 9 months or so (it's getting there) and I found myself playing "Home" again. And as I started to play I remember Zach and then it turned from the song of the Foo Fighters, to Zach's Song. And I could barely play the song because my eyes just watered up so much, and my voice trembled. So much so, it sounded like I was mumbling the words. And when i finally finished it I held my head in my hands and I was sobbing. 

While Zach and I may have not been the closest of friends, he was there when I needed him and to me, that's the best friend you could ever have. 

I hope my story can help shed even a small light on how much light Zach brought into the world. 

Much love to the Mislehs and the rest of my DeMatha Brotherhood,

-Chris Chorbajian, '16

PS, here is the link to the song "Home" in case no one has heard it yet, or they just want to listen to it again: