It’s official — and not only because it has a Facebook event page. The traditional orientation a cappella jamboree has been scheduled for Sunday, September 5 at 8:00 p.m. in Mead Chapel. The Jam is typically held on the eve of the first day of classes each semester for incoming First-years or Febs.
The seven groups expected to perform this year include Middlebury’s two co-ed pop groups (Bobolinks and Mamajamas), two all-female groups (Mischords and Paradiddles), two all-male groups (Dissipated 8 and Stuck In the Middle), and the renaissance-style group, the Mountain Ayres. People Get Ready, Midd’s Christian a cappella group, has indicated they will not perform.
MCAB The Center for Campus Activities and Leadership’s (CCAL) Orientation Committee formerly organized and sponsored the event, a mainstay in new-student orientation programming that was always well-attended. However, according to assistant director of campus activities JJ Boggs, due to concerns that participation in the venue was not open to all student performing groups, CCAL has justifiably shifted the event’s organization into the hands of interested groups or individuals in the past few semesters.
It’s a no-frills, but high-quality concert: seven groups sing their seven best songs (with no instruments), as they each try to lure the new class’ fresh talent to the groups’ audition sessions during the first weeks of class. First-years are encouraged to attend and check out what seven of Middlebury’s eight groups have to offer. All other students, faculty, and guests are invited, as well.
Students are often surprised, others annoyed, at what sometimes seems to be a disproportionately large a cappella scene at a school of Middlebury’s size. Though, given the facts that many (if not all) of these groups have toured extensively, recorded multiple studio albums, and received some degree of notoriety in the New England region and beyond, a cappella is indubitably a Middlebury “thing,” to which new students could be well-advised to “orient” themselves.
Here’s a sampling what could be to come — just a few favorites. More clips available on Midd’s a cap concert chronicler Lany Khattiya’s YouTube channel: