Miscellania, Bowdoin’s first and only all-women’s a cappella group, celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend with the return of many of the group’s alumni. This will be students’ first chance in four years—the last time a reunion happened—to connect with Miscellania members of the past.
Miscellania co-leader Annie Mahoney ’23 expressed the group’s excitement in connecting with the alumni.
“I’m just really looking forward to meeting them and getting to hear about their experiences,” Mahoney said.
One of the highlights of the weekend is an open rehearsal on Saturday, where present members will be able to sing with past members and learn more about how the group used to function.
“Hopefully if there are old traditions that have fallen off, [we could] bring some of them back or bring songs back that we didn’t know were in the repertoire,” Mahoney said.
When Miscellania was founded, it was one of the only exclusively women’s spaces on campus. Women’s sports were still in their infancy, Title IX hadn’t been passed yet and women were outnumbered on campus by as many as 12 to 1. This group was important to its earliest members as it provided them with one of the few places on campus where they could be with only other women.
The group has grown and changed since then, but members from throughout its history attest to how important that space was for them. Ruth Small ’77, a member of the third class of women at Bowdoin, spoke on the important space Miscellania provided to its early members.
“We went around [singing] on campus and there was a lot of camaraderie and I remember the rehearsals as being fun,” Small said.
There have been many changes in leadership since then, but the core values have stayed the same.
“Sharing that tradition of the group is really cool—the tradition of lifelong friendships. I know that we share those connections through music [and] through women’s spaces on campus” co-leader Jess Giorgio ’23 said.
Having added members just last Thursday, Miscellania has already begun rehearsing for its busy year. Finally free from the Covid-19 restrictions that made rehearsals difficult, Mahoney and Giorgio are expecting to return to normal.
“This year kind of feels like the real return to normalcy of how our group functions and we’re trying to really bring our group together,” Giorgio said.
When asked about the new class of first years, Giorgio was nothing but enthusiastic.
“They’re so awesome, they bring such good energy and they’re such good singers,’’ Giorgio said.
Mahoney echoed her co-leader.
“They’re really talented and really enthusiastic, so we’re really pumped,” Mahoney said.
The group is looking to reaffirm the group’s longstanding commitment to community by creating more opportunities for underclass students to take on leadership roles.
“Something we’re really trying to emphasize this year is shared leadership throughout the group, and using all of our talents and allocating towards making the best version of our group we possibly can. And it takes every single one of us to be able to do that,” Giorgio said.