The Madhatters will perform their annual fall performance on Nov. 18 at the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater, singing for more than 1,000 people.
As campus’s first ever a cappella group, the Madhatters have seen growth and change over the year. The group was formed in 1997, and has since grown its numbers and even released three projects on Spotify.
“We’re really lucky to have the experience of going into a recording studio, record all of our songs and be able to put it on Spotify and Apple Music, Gregory Halstead said, the group’s publicity manager. “That album that we have out is also for sale at the concert as well.”
Their most recent album, All on Red, was recorded on Madison’s west side at Blast House Studios. One of the group’s current goals is to a release a deluxe version of the album.
According Halstead, the group is about more than just the music. It’s a close-knit community that has existed for more 20 years.
“I was in choir in high school and I was hoping to find an outlet to continue my singing while at school,” Halstead said. “This is a really cool way to do it, to be able to perform and make friends.”
Although it may sound like all fun and games, these singers could not be more serious about improving their skills and working together to create music. Practices and auditions start just as soon as each semester begins. According to Halstead, the group then practices for three days each week, with each rehearsal lasting about two hours. They have their own practice process down to a science at this point.
The rehearsal process begins by picking a song. Each member is welcomed to pitch ideas, but the group was more focused on recent hits for this semester’s show. This was done because the group thought recently released music would go over well with the audience.
Songs for the fall show include music by Justin Bieber, Maroon 5 and Calvin Harris.
After song selections have been made, the group divides into their voice parts, which can be tenor, baritone, bass, etc. After each individual group learns the song, the group comes together as a whole. With help from the music director who works on rhythm and style, the song and sound become finalized.
Besides standard vocal groups, the Madhatters also have a beatboxing section, where the singer uses his voice to replicate percussion noises. The beatboxer will have his own VP, or vocal percussion, segment during the show that will last for 15 minutes.
“The show should be about two hours long with intermissions,” Halstead said. “I’m most excited to perform on stage with my friends. It’s really exciting.”