The singing group that came to be known the Bowdoin College Meddiebempsters was the brainchild of two visionary men: Professor Frederick E.T. Tillotson and Geoffrey R. Stanwood ’38. The kind of successful collaboration between teacher and student on which Bowdoin College prides itself, the project was initially to form a “group of singers that would be comparable to Yale’s Whiffenpoofs.” The four original singers—Stanwood among them— were an almost immediate success, performing around campus countless times during the spring of 1937. Shortly the group was expanded to a double quartet, entertaining larger audiences in the community with old favorites and tight harmonies.
The early octet amassed a repertoire from both borrowed and original sources, though adopting from the outset the philosophy that song choices themselves were less important than the group’s energy and performance of them. The early Meddies were a group that, in the words of Geoffrey Stanwood, “enjoyed each other, had a helluva lot of fun, and worked up a good blend of voices.”