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The MadHatters in Fall 2013 at Camp Randall
|Origin||University of Wisconsin - Madison|
|Website||MadHatters Official Website|
|Members||Matt Bertler '18
Hanwook Chung '17
Jayden Cline '17
Eliav Goldman '18
Nick Graves '20
Gregory Halstead '18
RJ Heim '17
Ryan Hegna '19
Will Hoverman '18
Dylan Kahn '19
Tyler Livingston '17 (vp)
Kolby McConville '17
Matthew Mueller '17
Frankie Pobar Lay '18
Evan Rocco '19
Dan Spika '17
Shane Swing '20
The MadHatters is a collegiate a cappella group on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Created in 1997, the MadHatters are the first established a cappella group on the UW-Madison campus. The MadHatters have grown significantly in popularity in the a cappella community, having released several albums and receiving several awards. The MadHatters are notable for being featured on two Best of Collegiate A Cappella (BOCA) compilation albums as well as hosting the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. The MadHatters traditionally have between 9-12 vocalists and one vocal percussionist.
Beginning to early 2000s
In 1997, choral department students Chris Yahng and Chad Musolf gathered a group of men interested in singing beyond the normal choir concerts and formed the a cappella group. Over a short period of time, the group's popularity rose dramatically, leading to the MadHatters selling out the historic Orpheum Theater on State Street multiple times and performing at the acclaimed UW Varsity Band Concert in April 2002 in addition to their regular performances at hospitals, senior homes, various schools, and community events.
The group has gained nationwide recognition since the release of State Street, their first album. Recorded with the university's women’s a cappella group Tangled up in Blue, each group had one track earn a spot on the 2002 BOCA CD, and is credited as the first a cappella album recorded in 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound. This widespread publicity helped the MadHatters to take their first ever concert tour. In January 2003 the group traveled to the East Coast performing at Harvard University and in New York City.
In the fall of 2003 the MadHatters released their second album, a live CD of their sold out 2003 spring concert at the Orpheum Theatre, entitled No Jacket Required. In January 2004, the MadHatters took their second major tour to the west coast, stopping and performing in Denver, Las Vegas, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Luis Obispo, and San Francisco. In February 2004, the MadHatters were selected to compete in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella contest for the first time. That semester, the MadHatters had their main show again at the Orpheum Theatre, despite a small fire in the theatre the morning of their concert. At that show, the MadHatters sold out the theatre again, having the largest turnout for any show at the time.
Mid 2000s to 2011
The group sang the National Anthem for more than 41,000 people at Miller Park (Milwaukee) for a Brewers/Cubs game on August 17, 2004. On November 10, 2004, the MadHatters performed at the then new Overture Center and sold out the show, filling the house to its 2,251 person capacity. Shortly after, the group began recording their second studio album, Friday After Class. At the end of the 2004 Fall semester, the group received the UW Student Organization Office's "Outstanding Achievement Award" for their hard work, dedication, and contributions to the school and community throughout the semester. In April, the group received a second award from the Student Organization Office, the annual "Outstanding Contribution to Campus" award.
In April 2005, the group released their follow-up album to State Street, entitled Friday After Class. One year later, in April 2006, the group returned to the Overture Center for their largest concert series yet, 2 nights at Overture Hall. In the Fall of 2007, the group sold out the Capitol Theater of the Overture Center on back-to-back nights in December and released their third studio album, Not For Credit. The group had a second track selected to the Best of Collegiate A Cappella (BOCA) CD and Contemporary A cappella Recording Award nomination in 2008 for the track "I Believe" off the Not For Credit album.
The group's 2008-2009 tour went international for the first time, touring in the country of Mexico throughout January 2009. Their fourth album, Random Play, was released on April 10, 2010 after the MadHatters’ sold out performance at the Orpheum. At their annual Fall Concert on December 3, 2010, the MadHatters released their first holiday album, Cheer on Tap.
2011 to present
At their spring concert the next semester, April 16, 2011, with a dollar from each seat sold and a third of all CD sales in the month of April, the group was proud to donate over $4000 to Going for Ten Thousand, a student-run organization that helps raise money for the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In Spring 2011, the MadHatters began work on their full-length studio album, "All Nighter" which was released the next year in 2012. In both December 2011 and 2012 the group was invited to perform at the White House for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as a part of the President's annual holiday reception.
The MadHatters released their newest album, a six-song Wisconsin Badger Football themed EP titled "Red, White & Blazers" at their Spring Show at the Overture Center on April 12, 2014. They are currently in the process of recording a full-length studio album with projected release in 2016.
On December 28, 2014 the MadHatters sang the halftime show at the Green Bay Packers game against the Detroit Lions for over 80,000 people. Along with the performance at halftime, they also sang their rendition of Jump Around by House of Pain during the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter.
The MadHatters have recorded 6 studio albums, 1 live album, and 1 EP
|State Street (2002)|
(Recorded with UW Tangled Up in Blue)
|No Jacket Required (2003)|
|No Jacket Required
|Friday After Class (2005)|
|Friday After Class
|Not For Credit (2007)|
|Not For Credit
|Random Play (2010)|
|Cheer On Tap (2010)|
|Cheer On Tap
|All Nighter (2012)|
|Red, White & Blazers (2014)|
|Red, White & Blazers
Honors and recognition
A highlight of 2009 for the MadHatters was having a picture of their rendition of the “Thriller Dance” included in the December 21, 2009 TIME Magazine “Year In Pictures” Issue. The picture was taken at the MadHatters’ November 21 Fall Concert Series at the Overture Center in Madison, WI and was a feature picture in the issue’s tribute to Michael Jackson.
The MadHatters have had 2 songs appear on the Best of Collegiate A Cappella compilation albums:
- I Was Brought To My Senses - State Street - Featured on BOCA 2002
- I Believe (When I Fall in Love) - Not For Credit - Featured on BOCA 2008
The MadHatters had one track selected to appear on the Voices Only Compilation albums:
- Forever - Random Play - Featured on Voices Only 2010
Thomas, Rob. “Big Voice on Campus; A Cappella Groups MadHatters, Tangled Up In Blue Find Success.” The Capital Times [Madison, WI] 3 May 2002: 1B
Stockinger, Jacob. “Benefits of Music; ‘Tune It Up’ Features Brass Quintet, MadHatters for prostate cancer fundraiser.” The Capital Times [Madison, WI] 26 September 2007: B1
Christians, Lindsay. “Look Ma, No Backup; A Cappella Groups Redefine Pop.” The Capital Times [Madison, WI] 19 February 2009: 29
Henry, Amanda. “A Cappella Rocks; Who Needs Instruments? Certainly Not These Collegiate Performers.” Wisconsin State Journal [Madison, WI] 26 February 2002: D1
- MadHatters Student Organization Listing
- Ingersoll, Brenda. “Orpheum Fire is Called Arson; But the Blaze Was Contained, and the Shows Go On at Historic Theater.” Wisconsin State Journal [Madison, WI] 24 April 2004: B1
- "Raising Money for MS". Raising Money for MS. WMSN Fox 47 Madison.
- "Big Voices on Campus". Big Voices on Campus. The Isthmus.
- RARB Review of The MadHatters and Tangled Up In Blue - State Street
- RARB Review of The MadHatters - Friday After Class
- RARB Review of The MadHatters - Not For Credit
- A.V. Club Review of The MadHatters - Random Play
- Amazon.com: Cheer On Tap: University of WIsconsin MadHatters
- Keas, Jeremy. "Elegies for a Thriller." TIME 21 December 2009: 62