If you’re counting by a cappella groups, 8. With anywhere from about ten to fifteen members in each group, that’s a lot of people singing on campus (not to mention the College Choir, Community Choir, music department ensembles, student bands, individual performers…).
A cappella has a visible and really varied presence on campus: with two all-guys groups (Stuck In the Middle and the Dissipated Eight), two all-girls groups (Mischords and Paradiddles), two co-ed groups (Mamajamas and Bobolinks), a renaissance group (Mountain Ayres), and a Christian group (People Get Ready), it’s hard to miss the small huddles of people around campus who are able to spontaneously burst into song. For instance:
The best (and maybe surprising) part about it, is that each group has a truly unique flavor of sound and jive of its own in comparison with other Midd groups.
That said, we like to mix ourselves up and collaborate sometimes, too. Last Friday, my group, Stuck In the Middle (SIM), and the Mischords (shout out to Senior Fellow Cloe!), performed together at a Middlebury alumni event in Greenwich, Conn. at the Belle Haven Yacht Club. Both groups had great sets, which we concluded with the SIM-Mischord choir’s rendition of the Middlebury Alma Mater, “Walls of Ivy.”
It’s amazing to see (let alone do, as music director) the work that goes into planning and executing music tours of any sort. Apart from hours of rehearsing, logistics like finding gigs, negotiating pay, reserving vans, getting group members’ schedules to work together, finding food, finding lodging, and getting people dressed and to the venue on time all take a lot of preparation.
Having acted as a member, the social director, (advertising, outreach, performance, etc.) and now acting as music director, a cappella has been a time-consuming, but totally worthwhile and rewarding activity: getting to sing and be creative with a group of great guys for four years is priceless.
Though Midd’s a cap groups might have yet to make it to the “big-leagues” (see YouTube video below) — not to belittle my group’s own music video, Middlebury-related musicians like Dispatch and and most recently, Ezra Axelrod ’07, have made more than just ripples in the music industry.