Despite being titled “Mediocre Melodies,” there is nothing average about Cornell’s only comedy-acapella club –– an organization premised solely on enthusiasm for singing that has rapidly gained campus-wide popularity since its start in 2018.
Andrew Greene ’20 founded the club as a fun, inclusive and casual space for students to step out of their comfort zones.
“How much of a bummer would it be to be cut from a mediocre melody group? If you showed up, you [were] basically in,” Green told The Sun in 2018.
This semester, the group received 120 new applications and had to reject 109.
Jack Callard ’22, president of Mediocre Melodies for the past two years, noted that the club could not physically host 120 new members or foster strong personal relationships between them effectively. However, he expressed his gratitude that so many new students were interested.
“Every application means a lot to me, to Andrew and to everybody in the group,” Callard said.
Most clubs at Cornell aim to offer a sense of community, whether its members are brought together by shared interests or goals, but what Mediocre Melodies provides its participants is different. More than a sense of community, it tries to be a safe space for all.
After Seanie Clark ’23 encouraged her entire high school to audition for their senior year musical, the theater department at her school thanked her with a rejection. She was the only person to be cut from the musical, even though she loves music.
“I’m not talented and I never have been,” Clark said. “I’m terrified to sing and terrible at it, but I love it.”
In her freshman year at Cornell, Mediocre Melodies offered Clark a place to celebrate the music that makes her happy. Along with her fellow club members, Clark rehearses once a week and performs in concerts each semester.
Last year’s concert took place over Zoom and the theme was “Revenge.” The Mediocre Melodies sang songs on trend: Aly & AJ’s Potential Breakup Song and Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats.
Although their shows are musical, they also include comedy bits, and a section in which audience members pay for members to serenade their friends. All performance proceeds go to charities in Tompkins County, and their Revenge concert proceeds went to the Ithaca Free Clinic.
Eitan Wolf ’21 described the club as “one of the best ideas that someone has had on a campus.” He credited it with improving his experience of Cornell’s culture. Transferring from Oregon State University, Wolf tried out twice before joining it last spring.
During the early stages of the pandemic, though online practice was difficult, he stated that the club offered him a meaningful community.
Reflecting on why the club has become so popular, Callard said that students appreciate time away from Cornell’s serious atmosphere to have fun.
”People are applying to Mediocre Melodies not because it’s going to look good on their resume or help them get somewhere, but because it’s something that they really want to do,” Callard said.
Correction, Sept. 30, 2:33 p.m.: A previous version of this article inaccurately stated the university from which Eitan Wolf ’21 transferred. Wolf transferred from Oregon State University, not Ohio State University. The story has been corrected to reflect this accurately.