SCAMFest 2017: My Time with the 9th Street Hooligans

Hi guys! Izzy back with another blog.

Keeping in a bit of tradition, I’m gonna talk to y’all about my experiences with a capella, which is one of the primary structured things that I do for fun. I’ve written about a capella two other times, once before I was involved, and once right after my first SCAMFest with the 9th Street Hooligans (9SH). I’ve continued on with them, and will definitely be a member until I graduate, because I really can’t imagine not hanging out with these nerds.

A group photo of the 9th Street Hooligans, dressed in their signature black and purple outfits.

The 9th Street Hooligans Lineup in Winter 2017.

When I started a capella, there was a pretty decent Mudd presence in 9SH, but last year it was a bit overwhelming. In fact, 10 of the 17 people in above picture are Mudders. Although those numbers have decreased with a lot of seniors in the group graduating, and people leaving because of other commitments, I think the experience of being in a performance club with so many Mudders was something really powerful for me, and helped me re-contextualize what it meant to be a Mudder in a way that other environments couldn’t. I’m also kind of a reserved person (in some ways) so a capella was also my best environment to get to know people from the other colleges, and find out from them what the culture of the other schools was like, and what people cared about at the other schools.

Students enjoy dinner at last year's 9th street hooligans retreat in Big Bear.

Dinner at 9SH’s retreat from last year, to Big Bear.

A 9th Street Hooligans group selfie from this year's retreat to Big Bear.

And a picture from THIS year’s trip to Big Bear.

I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with my fellow Hooligans, in and out of practice. I’ve had classes and projects with some of them, we’ve been sailing, and we’ve gone on a couple of retreats. These were all really great experiences, and I think that everyone in the group is such a great person. But if I’m being honest, I don’t think that most of them are the types of people that I would think I could easily be friends with. And I think I need to kind of reconsider how I look at other people, and relationships, because the Hooligans are great, and I’d love to have more people like them in my life! Having a club activity where I interact with a lot of people from different environments and with different interests than me has been a really great and powerful thing for me.

Alexis and Shivali sing a duet on stage with the other "hooligans" accompanying behind them.

Alexis Nicole (SC ’17) and Shivali Joshi (CMC ’19) in a duet at last year’s final concert.

A capella was also one of the first environments where I had to deal with getting to know seniors pretty well, and really incorporate their energy and presence into part of my experience, but then have them be gone. In particular this was true for Justis Allen, a senior who I knew from BLAM (Black Lives at Mudd), who I often asked for CS advice, and who I really got to know and appreciate as being part of a capella. And it’s weird for people to transition out of your life like that. I moved a lot when I was younger, and I think there’s a really different dynamic of you moving away from someone and them moving away from you.

A selfie of Izzy and Justis

Me and Justis at an event earlier this year, when he visited.

Obviously one of the big parts of a cappella is performance, and I think that being part of a performance environment, particularly one that promotes personal expression, is really great for me. Though I can be a bit shy and nervous, I also have a part of me which is charismatic and silly. I’m a bit of a ham, for no better phrase. 9SH is a group that really prioritizes humor, and gives me a unique opportunity to have fun, and be goofy, without judgement.

An outtake from backstage during a 9th Street Hooligans performance, with laughter and silly poses.

We’re goofy. We’re real goofs.

A couple of weekends ago, we did SCAMFest (Southern California A capella Music Festival), for my second time. I was really nervous, honestly. On stage my mouth shook, and I know that there were mistakes that I made. I didn’t think that we did as stunningly well as some of the other groups, and I know that some of them put in more time and professional polish into the things that they do. But when it comes down to it, I don’t think that I really care about that. I got to work on the things that I did with a group of people who I love, and we went up there and had fun, and gave the audience an opportunity to have a lot of fun as well. The Hooligans provide me with community, expression, and self-confidence that I don’t think I get anywhere else at Mudd, and that’s something very, very important to me.9th Street Hooligans sit in the rows of an auditorium for a group photo