Meddies offer rich history, promising future
Perhaps, like many people on campus, you may not know much
about the Meddiebempsters beyond the facts that they have a strange name
and membership has something to do with being male. When Jeffery Stanwood
started the Meddiebempsters in 1937, it was an all male singing group,
assembled with the intent of pursuing "song and Bacchic revelry,"
said Jay Basnight, a member and Public Relations officer for the group.
Today, more than seventy years later, the Meddies are the
second oldest continuously operating a cappella group in the country and
have continued those pursuits lain down by their forefathers with no small
amount of pride. In a way, the group is the last of its kind. As fraternities
turned into social houses and a cappella groups took on more modern and
percussion based tones, the Meddies have stuck steadfastly to tradition.
Matt Loosigan, the financial officer for the group said that the Meddies
are really "Bowdoin's last fraternity." The group has not only
remained true to its established social structure, it has also remained
rooted in more traditional styles of musical arrangements. Members have
a real "appreciation for the history," according to Loosigan.
Each year, new members learn old Bowdoin songs and alumni
drop in on rehearsals every so often to listen and reminisce. It is no
wonder that the phrase "once a Meddie always a Meddie" has become
a central pillar of the group's dynamic. The twelve young men that fill
the ranks gather 3 to 4 times each week for rehearsals, which last an
hour and a half each.
Although the time commitment is certainly substantial, the
group's activities center around trying to "have fun and sing at
the same time," said Loosigan. This mindset has led to the amusing
antics that have become such an integral part of the group's performance
style. Songs are often arranged and taught to the group by the singers
themselves and the comedic aspects of a typical performance singularly
complement the hard work that goes into learning parts and rehearsing.
Today will be the next display of the Meddies' talents,
and the concert will be held in Hyde Plaza at the bonfire. Like all of
the Meddies' performances, it will be one during which the group looks
forward to "astounding you."
Future plans for the Meddies include a tour of California at the end of winter vacation, during which the group hopes to perform on the Tonight Show. This trip will be another addition to the history of impressive tours that the Meddies have been on. In 1948, the group traveled to Europe for a World War II USO tour to entertain the American military personnel. More recently, the Meddies toured Bermuda, the East Coast of the USA, and have performed the National Anthem for the Red Sox and the Celtics.