By Anna Lynch, Contributor
Campus libraries are generally home to late night cram-sessions, highly caffeinated, stressed out students and, of course, books. But Friday was a different day at the UNO Criss Library. The study center became somewhat of a concert hall as it hosted the first ever Maverick Karaoke Contest. The contest, held in the front entrance of the library, was open to faculty and students.
Students are better educated while studying in an environment that offers live music, according to a recent study conducted by Mark McBride, associate professor of music at the University of Northern Illinois. The study was comprised of over 50 University of Northern Illinois students who were given tickets to attend heavy metal concerts and holiday musicals and asked to study during the event. A surprising result from the study found a remarkable increase in the students’ test scores as the project went underway.
McBride said there was no problem getting students to partake in the study, but the outcome was “very unexpected.”
Pleased with the results, McBride plans to do another study involving singing class lectures. The study will entail professors singing their class material, along with performing an interpretive dance routine to determine if this also contributes to the learning process.
Inspired by McBride, UNO faculty decided to host a karaoke contest in the Criss Library, to help increase students’ academic experience and test scores. Students and professors, as well as a few Campus Security officers, entered the contest in chance of winning a Milo Bail Student Center gift card. Contestants were judged on singing ability and creativity of performance. Those who entered paid a small entrance fee and received a free coffee mug.
More than a dozen contestants came to compete, but surprisingly, professors dominated the competition. One particular history professor proved his musical talent as he performed with his band, The History Buffs.
Their music did not have a renaissance sound, nor did it have an upbeat, post-depression feel. The History Buffs’ music was of the modern age as they performed songs like, “Let’s Get This Party Started” by the Black Eyed Peas and “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida. The band also surprised with a Justin Beiber parody song about Beiber’s hair, which is only fitting for the teen sensation whose locks get more attention than Lindsay Lohan’s most recent jail stint.
The competition escalated when student Mary Williams brought to stage her Adele-like vocals. Williams powerful rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which she sung in French and incorporated a fog-machine, didn’t prove to be enough against The History Buffs.
When decision time came, the professor-led band won.
“This is probably one of the most exciting events in my life,” the professor shared. “It’s almost more exciting than the fall of the Ottoman Empire or the Industrial Revolution! Almost.”
Williams didn’t walk away empty handed. She received the runner-up prize of a free bowl of soup from the Mav-Rec CafÃ©.
Proceeds raised from the event will go toward an on-campus zip line, which will be constructed by freshman engineering students. Too bad helmets weren’t some of the prizes.