20 Songs: Six Years of Song

by MC Lord

arts & life editor

For many students, the annual Millsaps 20 Songs event is on at the top of their (after homework) to-do list right now. As part of Major Madness, a week of student activities, 20 songs has become a tradition here at Millsaps. Essentially, 20 Songs is a school-wide open-mic night where singers and musicians alike are invited to perform in a no-judgment, all-appreciative environment surrounded by friends. This year the theme is Millennial Major Madness. Most everyone will have heard the song choices before, but fear not; 20 Songs never ceases to shock you.

Austin McCarter, a senior at Millsaps, has been participating in this event since he was a freshman. He is hoping to play a heavy metal song to boost the crowd’s spirits, decibels, and appreciation for metal music. Because of this open environment, McCarter knows that he can reach the audience and hopes they will appreciate his courage and music. The lack of judgment is McCarter’s favorite part of the event. “There are good songs, and there are even some bad songs,” McCarter says. “But no matter what, no one is judged. We are all there to have fun.” 20 songs is a truly ideal environment for anyone who is hoping to utilize their musical outlet without disapproval.

Alex Fraser, a former Millsaps student, says that 20 Songs inspired him to pursue music. Fraser performed at every 20 Songs while he was at Millsaps, and has continued to come back to campus for the event.

“20 Songs holds a very special place in my heart,” he says. “The first one was held my sophomore year at Millsaps, and it was the first time I ever performed music in front of anyone. My performance for the first 20 Songs gave me the guts to go on and perform at three more, and to start writing music in general.”

Not only does Fraser have experience as a performer, but he was also in charge of organizing the second 20 Songs event at Millsaps. He says, “I think that the 20 Songs event continues to happen every year because it serves as a non-traditional creative outlet for the student body. The fact that it is run by students, for the students, is an essential aspect of this event.”

Fraser says his favorite 20 Songs memory is of the final performance of the first ever event, where performers and members of all the other acts came together to play a rendition of The Band’s “The Weight.”

“This night was a representation of what is so good about Millsaps and I imagine that the event continues to exist this way,” he says. With his performances in the Jackson area, Fraser has taken the inspiration from 20 Songs to showcase and pursue his passion and talent throughout the Jackson community.

Fraser adds, “It [is] a night where judgment was not allowed. A night where students were allowed to cut loose, and show others what they have in them musically. There need to be more events like 20 Songs.” To those who have not been before, it is part of the Millsaps experience to witness this night full of music, food, claps, and even some laughs. Be sure to stop by the 6th annual 20 Songs event on Friday, July 8th.