Even as the Pit was filling up with spectators, performers could still be heard rehearsing off-stage. Their need for extra practice time was understandable – after all, they’d only picked their songs and instruments forty-five minutes before. Sounds crazy? There’s a reason they call it Music Madness. On Friday night, October 4, participating groups of students had forty-five minutes to prepare a performance of the Disney song of their choice. The catch? Students had to use instruments other than their primary instruments. Benevolent chaos ensued.
The spirit of Music Madness is all in good fun, which certainly showed in the Pit’s lively atmosphere. Performing groups chatted and snacked on slices of Domino’s pizza as they made last-minute adjustments. Favorite Disney songs played from a loudspeaker, inspiring an enthusiastic audience sing-along to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” Most participants were in everyday clothes, but there was a group of performers in Frozen costumes, including a creative student in a Chewbacca onesie and reindeer antlers.
Audience members were lucky enough to see the one-time performances of groups formed especially for the occasion, who introduced themselves as Exception, Singular Maraca, Beauty and the Cow, The Scone-Us Brothers, and The Hot Crustacean Band. The instrumental requirements resulted in very unusual musical combinations, with many bands employing kazoos, triangles, recorders, and tambourines. A ukulele and an electric guitar also made an appearance, each to great effect.
Music Madness had the energy of a jam session at an enormous sleepover, with the performers clearly relishing the space to be creative and have fun with their friends. Onlookers cheered on their friends, clapped to the beat, and sang along when their excitement became too much to contain. Laughter erupted when “Elsa” began her hit “Let It Go” with an intense kazoo solo. The two students who made use of a twin-step ladder in order to “Bop to the Top” received a vigorous round of applause, and when they cried “What team?” they were met with a resounding “WILDCATS!”
At the end of the night, each band received awards such as “Most Likely to Make It,” “Best Group Energy,” and “Best Choreography.” Musicians came from various theater and music groups on campus, and many said it was their first time participating in Music Madness. One imagines it certainly won’t be their last.
Music Madness was held by Alternate College Theatre, Holy Cross’ fully student-run theater group. Music Madness premiered in the fall of 2018 and is now a regular semester occurrence. ACT also held Midnight Theatre on September 20, and will be performing “The Secret Life of Plants,” a play written and directed by Noah Mailloux ‘20, through December 5-8.