The Mental Notes

Group: The Mental Notes

Category of Group: Performing Arts Organizations

Year Founded: 1994

Name: Linda Song

Position: President

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The Mental Notes, colon, Revealed (video reference anybody? Look on Youtube!)

Students, you may have seen us around campus, clad in our bright Hawaiians a lot this February. From our Acapocalypse to helping entertain with the ICCAs, the Mental Notes have been traipsing all over the place! But incoming students, I bet you were wondering a little bit about our ‘Painfully Sexy’ selves, weren’t you?

The Johns Hopkins Mental Notes was founded in 1994 at…you guessed it: Johns Hopkins. The underlying mission of the group was to sing a cappella and to darn well have fun while doing it. In the present day, we’re now Hopkins’ ONLY comedy a cappella group. Our set-lists consist of self-written parodies to already-made funny songs to some awesome pop-rock. The Mental Notes also don’t limit themselves to songs, we do comedy skits during our concerts as well! Anything for a good laugh.

Did I mention that we’re co-ed? Boys and girls and everywhere in between are all welcome!

On your average week, we practice 3 times a week for a total of 7 hours. On your average week before the concert, we practice at least 7 days a week for 3 hours everyday. So yeah, week before concert gets a bit hairy, but we’re all so caught up in the excitement of the upcoming concert and wanting to sound our best for the aural pleasure of everyone else that we just plain don’t care.

The way that freshmen (or any undergraduate) can become involved in the Mental Notes is to participate in our yearly auditions. Just make sure to go to the Orientation A Cappella Show and make a bee-line to audition sign-ups right after the performance (and after the candle-light induction ceremony outside of Shriver). You’ll have to fight through a crowd of ravenous a cappella groups to get to our table, but don’t be frightened. We just want to see your bright shining face in our audition room. We don’t bite, promise. Now if you don’t want to be a part of the singing, but you just enjoy a cappella, the Mental Notes hold two annual concerts at the end of the fall semester and spring semesters. Keep an eye out for announcements of all sorts and make sure you plop yourself into the auditorium seat to get maximum visual and hearing pleasure.

I discovered the Mental Notes during ‘Accepted Students’ weekend at their ‘Pre-O Show’. From the moment I laid eyes on their bright Hawaiians, I knew they were the group for me. I then dithered about, almost forgetting about that wonderful group until I heard them again during the Orientation Show. You have no idea how many people I had to squeeze through in order to just get into the Glass Pavilion. (Again, please don’t be intimidated, we love you potential newbies)

One audition and callback later, I found myself being paid a visit in my dorm to fill out some…paperwork. See, I can’t tell you everything now, it’s a surprise and you can’t give away all surprises. Just rest assured that there’s nothing sketchy involved.

Once the semester gets underway, the Mental Notes participate in a variety of things. Sometimes other a cappella groups are looking to perform with us, sometimes we’re invited by some venues or businesses to perform at their functions, sometimes we collaborate with all the other a cappella group on campus for an event designed to blow your socks away—we’re everywhere we can possibly be at one time! The one thing the Mental Notes won’t go to is a competition—it’s even written in our constitution!

So lots of things on-campus and off-campus eh? But that’s not all. There is still more. Once a semester, we also gallivant off on a whirlwind of a tour to sing with other universities’ a cappella groups. We’ve been up and down the East Coast from Boston to the Carolinas. We’ve even been as far west as Chicago! If spending a weekend with a group of people doesn’t get you to bond, I don’t know what does.

Speaking of bonding, the best part of this group is the people. Our group is made up of undergraduates from all different majors, from Electrical Engineering to East Asian Studies. But different majors don’t form any barriers! On a given weekend, the people I find myself calling up the most are the friends that I have in this group. Rehearsals and performing aren’t the only things that keep us together. Sure, when we all hang out together it usually does devolve into a song-fest, but there’s so much more we do together. We have a number of members performing at a campus venue, so on the Wednesday that they perform, the rest of us camp out en mass around the stage and cheer on the rather brilliant performer (we’re not biased, we promised). Recently, we even went out to eat together—reveling in the brilliant idea of the endless meat of Fogo de Chao. There are so many more things, but if I list more, this entry is just going to dissolve into excited rambling and I need to keep things tight.

But yes, the Mental Notes have been a huge part of my life here at Hopkins. As you can see, we definitely do quite a bit of stuff and this group does fill my life with quite a bit of activity. One thing for certain though, not only do I have a fun extracurricular, but I have also found a wonderful group of friends that have made my life at Hopkins that much better.