Title: Initiation Rituals of Music Groups at Dartmouth College – Dodecaphonic
General Information about Item:
Genre: Initiation Ritual
Country of Origin: UK
Informant: Maxine Perroni-Scharf, female, 19 years old
Place Collected: Dartmouth College, Byrne II
Date Collected: 10-19-2018
Maxine Perroni-Scharf was born and raised in the UK. She is a sophomore at Dartmouth College and has been singing in choirs at school since she was 8 years old. On campus, she is a member of the Dodecaphonic. Maxine joined the Dodecaphonic her freshmen year because the Dodecaphonic impressed her the most with their performance at the auditions.
Social Context: I collected this folklore from Maxine Perroni-Scharf, a sophomore at Dartmouth College. She is a close friend of mine, and the only person I know who is in Dodecaphonic. I asked her about initiation rituals in Dodecaphonic. Maxine told me how she learned about the Dodecaphonic’s initiation ritual after experiencing it for the first time freshmen. During her second year, she was the upperclassman that performed the initiation rituals to the new members. The initiation rituals involve the upperclassmen of Dodecaphonic and the newly accepted members.
Cultural Context: The Dartmouth Dodecaphonic (Dodecs) is the College’s oldest and premier co-ed acapella group, singing a variety of music ranging from 80’s, rock, contemporary pop, Dartmouth traditional, and many others. The initiation rituals of the Dodecaphonic is important because all members get to meet each other for the first time and build a strong, tight-knit group, who will eventually travel and perform together across the United State.
Maxine auditioned to all girl acapella groups on Dartmouth campus. She also had to audition for one solo, where she had to sing a couple of solo songs. It was a day-long process and she didn’t find out of the results until a few days later. During the initiation ritual, older members went to Maxine’s room early in the morning around 4-6 am. They knocked on her door and sang in her room. They separated the new members from the familiar daily routine. After the Dartmouth Dodecaphonic gathered the other new members and sleepy Maxine, they transitioned to Dartmouth Hall, where they sang the Twilight Dartmouth song together. Then, the new members returned to their rooms. After Maxine went to her first rehearsal, all members of the Dodecaphonic drive out to Denny’s super late to get a meal together. The Dodecaphonic also held a party for the new members and told them that everyone would dress as “Space Cats” but, then the upperclassmen did not dress as Space Cats. During the party, older members of the Dodecaphonic passed down quest-items to younger Dodecaphonic and give them Dodecaphonic T-shirt. During the party, they also had an initiation contest, where they spent time together and competed against who can drink jam with a straw first. The last part of the Dodecaphonic’s initiation ritual is when the new members perform at their “baby show”. The show was the first time Maxine and the rest of the members sing together. All new members wore flare to show the public that they are new members of the acapella group. This baby show showed their incorporation into the group.
Informant’s Comments: According to Maxine, she thinks Dodecaphonic’s initiation ritual helped new members transition into the acapella group really fast. She said that new members don’t feel like new members anymore after initiation. Everyone in Dodecaphonic was really friendly and welcoming.
I think the Dodecaphonic’s initiation rituals sound like fun. Because there are more initiation rituals after wake-up, I think the Dodecaphonic’s initiation rituals form a more closed-knit group compared to other musical groups on campus.
Comparison within the subgroup: Since most of the new members of all the groups within the subgroups were mostly freshmen, they were surprised by the wakeup. All of the musical groups’ initiation rituals compose of wakeup and getting a meal together with their group. However, compared to other acapella groups, the Dodecaphonic also have other initiation rituals (e.g. party, sing at Dartmouth Hall) they do to welcome the new members. The purpose of the initiation ritual is to integrate the new members into the group more easily and for the group members to bond with each other.
Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.
Vanessa Chhoa; 20 years old
Hanover, NH 03755
Russian 13: Slavic Folklore