Mount Holyoke Faculty Show

If you were on campus last weekend, chances are you saw the College’s Faculty Show! I hope you did; they only have it once every four years. This year, they had two showings: one on Thursday, March 22nd at 7:00 pm, and the second on Friday, March 23rd at 7:00 as well. Tickets were free and were being distributed in the entryway of the Dining Commons the week of the show. I hadn’t heard of it before my friend texted me early last week, asking if I wanted to go with her. In case you’re like me and didn’t know much about it, here’s some background information about Mount Holyoke’s Faculty Show.

According to the College’s Alumnae Association website, the Faculty Show began in 1903 with the performance Seven Princesses. Since then, the show has been occurring every four years, and proceeds from the ticket sales have been used to benefit various campus projects. For instance, new furnishings and equipment for the new health center were bought in 1960, and more scholarships for students were established in 1972.

Records from the archives show that faculty agreed to stop the show in 1988, because it became difficult to arrange rehearsals due to time constraints of families who lived far from campus. However, the 1988 senior class voiced disappointment, which prompted a science faculty show that year. Since 1994, the faculty show tradition has been restored, although the modern day shows are much less extravagant than they were in the early 1900’s. Back then, they had “elaborate costumes, makeup, sets, props, printed tickets, and original compositions of choral and instrumental music.”

1948 Faculty Show “Soap to Nuts”

 

1924 Faculty Show

To maintain professionalism, the audience wasn’t allowed to take photos or videos of the show. However, as a recap, some of the segments included a rap about the “MyMountHolyoke” website, a few skits that poked fun at typical Mount Holyoke life, such as students in a lecture hall and students in the Dining Commons. There was also a band composed of a few faculty members who performed an instrumental version of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk”. My favorite aspect of the show, however, was the narrator who pretended to be reading aloud her diary entry from the perspective of a first-year student and who mocked some of the current trends and attitudes of college students.

I thought it was amazing and highly entertaining! I thought all of the faculty did an outstanding job, and it was great to know that they had done this to simply entertain students and bring smiles to their faces. It made me love being a student here even more, because I was reminded how special the MHC community is. I’ve never heard of any other colleges having a tradition like this one; but I am beyond glad that Mount Holyoke has it! It was easy to see how much thought and hard work the faculty had put into making the show so entertaining. It was definitely a great way to spend my Friday night!

Here are a few more reviews of the show from other MHC students!

“It was funny and creative! I loved how it hit all the main aspects of life at MHC!” - Sophia Cote, Class of 2020

“I thought it was so sweet and cute! It had a good balance of relatable student jokes and also jokes about the current political climate. Deborah and I also talked about how there are very few places where faculty and staff would take the time to put on a show simply to entertain us; it’s really such a lovely thing for them to do and such a Mount Holyoke tradition. It’s one of those things that makes me grateful to go here.” - Lyssi Joseph, Class of 2018

“For me, it was nice to see the professors come out of their intellectual spheres and do something to get to our level as students.” - Shauna-Kay Harrison, Class of 2020

“I loved seeing some of my professors up there who have been so critical, and have played a huge role for me and my development as a student in the Psychology department. I think they manage to do that for so many other students too, just by being passionate about their subjects and their genuine care for and willingness to connect with students in many different ways. For example, I don't know how many college professors would willingly go on stage and poke fun at themselves, our beloved school, and their students. The show was so fun and I really enjoyed it and laughed so hard! It really was amazing to have seen in my last semester here, and reminded me of one of the reasons I will always love MHC- we have the most brilliant, fun, and down-to-earth professors!”- Deborah Fashole-Luke, Class of 2018

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be at the Faculty Show, but I’m a history major and in my research this semester for my capstone, I discovered this interesting tidbit: the first Mount Holyoke Faculty Show took place on March 24, 1903 as part of an effort to raise $75,000 to build a new Williston Memorial library!” - Elise Newcomer, Class of 2018

If you didn’t get the chance to attend the show this year, no worries! There are some clips of past Faculty Shows on YouTube, which you can check out and get an idea of the performances:

Or, you could come back as an alum for the next one in 2022! It will give you a reason to come back to Mount Holyoke and visit your alma mater!

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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