Photo of the Headphone Disco Homecoming Dance

Then and Now: Dances

Then and Now:DancesMcKendree’s first college dances 50 years ago were a lot louder than the 2012 Homecoming party.

Alumni from the early 1960s remember doing the Cha Cha, Twist or Mashed Potato to future golden oldies like “Blue Moon” and “Runaround Sue,” or swaying cheek-to-cheek to “Stand By Me” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight.”

Fast forward to the “Headphone Disco” silent dance party of Homecoming 2012. A concept that originated in Europe and spread to college campuses across the U.S., it featured two DJs playing different songs simultaneously over wireless two-channel headphones. Part of the crowd blasted “Party Rock Anthem” or “Good Feeling” through their headphones; others tuned in to “Red Solo Cups” or “Call Me Maybe.”

“We wanted to try something new and completely different this year to entertain our students,” explained Craig Robertson, director of campus activities. “Members of the Campus Activities Board (CAB) had participated in ‘Headphone Disco’ at our national convention and thought it would be a great program to bring to McKendree. While initially some students were skeptical, those who attended the dance had a great time. They liked that they could request songs and choose between two channels of music.” Robertson said it was “a bit awkward at first, but you could actually carry on a conversation with friends without having to talk over loud music, and our light show gave the event a ‘club’ feel. We’ve received a lot of requests to bring ‘Headphone Disco’ back.”

Another first: The Homecoming King and Queen announcement was made during the dance - over headphones.

In keeping with the Homecoming theme, the CAB Traditions Committee charged a “Once Upon a Time” admission price of $5.