As president of the men’s a cappella group, Bathtub Dogs, Brandon McMiller has played a pivotal role in getting the group of talented Huskers back performing in the community and in competition.
McMiller admits that he has a bit of a “takeover spirit,” naturally adept at taking the lead in any situation. This easy leadership has come in handy as president of the Bathtub Dogs, which he’s shepherded out of challenging times and back onto the stage.
“Coming out of the pandemic, I knew it was going to be a long process getting back into the community and performing, and I wanted to be the conductor of that train,” McMiller, a senior broadcasting major from Omaha, Nebraska, said.
The Bathtub Dogs perform lively a cappella reworks of a classic tunes and modern-day hits. For McMiller, his first encounter with the group was when they performed at a competition hosted by his high school in Omaha.
“They could sing their faces off and just seemed like stars. I was like, ‘I want to audition for that,’” he said.
Even still, McMiller found himself a bit skeptical about joining an all-men’s group, worried about fitting in and being accepted. Pretty quickly, though, those worries began to dissipate as McMiller felt an overwhelming sense of comfort and camaraderie.
“There are lots of things we do in rehearsal to make it a safe and open space,” he said. “Sometimes I honestly love rehearsing more than performing because it’s such a fun shared experience.”
Rehearsing is something that they’re doing a lot of right now as the dogs gear up for regional and national competitions. These shows involve choreographed dancing on top of singing, which McMiller said requires the collaborative talents of all 17 members.
“There are so many different and important roles, and mine is often just stepping back to make sure things are running smoothy,” he said.
Despite the high stakes of competition, McMiller still cherishes performing for local communities and young people above all.
“Getting in front of young people and being in high schools in front of show choir kids is doing the same thing that inspired me to get involved,” McMiller said “It’s so fun seeing the light in kids’ eyes when you’re up there performing. It feels full circle for me.”