Last fall, we asked you to share the soundtrack to your Millikin experience, and many of you responded with your fondest memories of songs that take you back to your college years.
In her time at Millikin, Barbara Kauppala Miraftabi ’67 of Lappeenranta, Finland, recalls “The Twist” as the most popular dance music, while “The Sound of Music” brings back memories of performing with other Millikin students at a nearby nursing home. This memory later inspired her to teach “The Sound of Music” to the children at the First Presbyterian Church for their spring show when she was their choir director.
She also remembers “I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog” by Peter, Paul, and Mary because it surged to popularity during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, when Miraftabi was an active supporter of Friends of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
“I was just finishing at Millikin and moving on to graduate school,” she says.
Miraftabi’s generation may have twisted through school, but Sara Ray Helmus ’03 and her group of New
Hall 3 girlfriends (pictured below at Helmus’ wedding) fell in love with “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega, their theme song during fall 1999.
“We would gather in a room and start dancing on the desk chairs (which was hard to do because they were rockers), beds, floor and out into the hallway,” she says. “We even watched the video over and over again to learn the dance that goes in the middle. Why a bunch of women fell in love with a song about a man who switches from woman to woman, I don’t know. All I know is that we have played it at all six of our wedding receptions.”
In spring 1974, Ellen Radcliffe Woods ’77 stayed behind to attend her then-boyfriend’s graduation, after her friends and roommate left for summer break. While the campus was sunny, quiet and virtually deserted, her Walker Hall room bumped with the beats of “Horse with No Name” from her stereo.
“I always picture that moment when the dorms were silent except for that song,” she says.
Woods has been married to that boyfriend, Michael Woods ’74, for 35 years.
For Don Hildebrand ’50, his favorite musical memory occurred during a Chapel program in 1948 or 1949, when “a guest student musical group, I believe, from Illinois Wesleyan University, performed a choreographed version of the then current pop song, ‘Rag Mop,’ complete with one of the singers wearing a rag mop on his head and other places. It was a refreshing hilarious performance in contrast to most of the Chapel’s serious events.”
And last, but not least, Christine LaPorte ’07 remembers her times as an active Millikin Tri-Delta every time she hears “American Pie” on the radio.
“We sang it at every Tri-Delta dance at the top of our lungs! I still call my sisters whenever I hear it on the radio,” she says.
The tradition lives on today, but do you remember when that song became a Delta tradition? Perhaps Tri-Delta sisters from the 1970s (when the song first became a hit) recall when it became a fixture at dances.
Send your memories to firstname.lastname@example.org