by Laura Locke
For someone who has never seen a Makin’ Music show in their life, it’s difficult to describe much less explain why this one event is such a big deal on Freed-Hardeman’s campus. Why would hundreds of twenty-year old college students willingly wear yards of brightly colored polysatin, cover their faces in paint and glitter, and practice for hours to perfect a show that they will then perform in front of thousands of their family, friends, and alumni?
Essentially, Makin’ Music is a enormous production where each of the university’s six social clubs perform a 7-minute musical. Each show has directors who rewrite lyrics to popular songs and create corresponding choreography to tell a story. They then teach this show to a cast of 60-100 students over the course of the spring semester. During Makin’ Music weekend, each club performs their show three times and is judged in several categories. The club with the best score at the end of the weekend wins the coveted Makin’ Music sweepstakes trophy.
If this sounds like something that would only interest music or theater majors, think again. Spots in some club shows are highly competitive, with more students wanting to participate than the stage can comfortably hold. Burly, uncoordinated athletic types who would never be caught dead on Broadway can be seen practicing their moves in a dorm room mirror and willingly getting made up with eyeliner and blush for stage performances. Makin’ Music is a great equalizer, with students of all vocal abilities and performance backgrounds coming together to put on an entertaining show, hoping to win bragging rights for the next year.
As I’m writing this, cast members are reporting for retreat weekend, ready to spend 35+ of the next 72 hours perfecting their moves and harmonies. There will be sore muscles, tired voices, laughter, and probably crying. But more important, there will also be memories made, friendships strengthened, and love seen among cast members. Some of my best college memories are the late nights I spent on the gym floor rubbing my achy feet and laughing at jokes that became infinitely funnier in the delirium of sleep deprivation. Then there’s the rush that comes from finally getting to perform, knowing that all your preparation and hard work comes down to this, your club’s seven minutes on the stage in Loyd.
This coming weekend, thousands of alumni and friends of the university will return home to Henderson, TN to witness the wonderful, glittery insanity that is Makin’ Music. They’ll cheer for their favorite clubs, critique vocals, and point out crooked lines or mangled choreography. They’ll find themselves humming lines from a particularly catchy show or discussing how one club pulled off an especially impressive block or ripple. It’s an odd tradition, but one that unites the FHU student body, past and present.
Curious to see what all the fuss is about? It’s not too late to purchase tickets for Makin’ Music 2013. Let us share the Makin’ Music experience that Freed-Hardeman loves with you!