By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Sep 28, 2003 at 5:07 AM

Admit it, you despise that damn "YMCA" song, too. And, note to local sports teams: it's more than time to axe that song from your rotation of bad pop songs at your games. This off our chest, we are pleased to learn that local YMCAs agree and are doing something about it this weekend.

Please stop swaying to the beat of the Village People as I continue. Unfortunately for the YMCA Organization, the annoying song has done little to promote what it's really about. That's why, thank all that is good on this earth, the YMCAs of Metropolitan Milwaukee are parting ways with that old worn-out image and choosing to dance to the beat of a different drum.

To celebrate the end of one era and the start of a new one, the YMCAs of Metropolitan Milwaukee want you to celebrate and join them at the West Suburban YMCA, 124th Street and North Avenue on Sun., Sept. 28 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. for an afternoon of live music, food, beverages, games ... And that's not all.

What's happening on Sunday? Just a little wrecking ball perched above a jukebox outside the facility. The jukebox has been spinning that familiar Village People song for five days straight and it's time to meet its maker. To give the song its proper send-off, the event's emcee will ask the audience for a moment of silence, proceed with a countdown and then cue the drop, putting a real end to the symbolic, if not crazy, connection between the YMCA and the familiar song.

Jill Goldberg, YMCA Vice President of Marketing, tells us, "When people hear the song, they may have a lot of fun, but they don't think about today's YMCA and all that we do here. We want people to know what the YMCA is really about, so we're holding this special event. We'll have a lot of fun and we'll be able to showcase all the great things about today's YMCA."

A blatant public relations event that's well-crafted for media, yes. But, also an end to a song that has more than run its course.

Local musicians needed

In addition, the Metropolitan Milwaukee branches are seeking local musicians to write a new YMCA theme song and perform it live during the week of November 8. Dubbed the YMCA New Song Challenge, the top six finalists will perform live on television and viewers will able to vote for their favorite song at the end of the week. The winning act receives $5,000, a free 1-year YMCA membership for each winning participant and the chance to show their stuff to the greater Milwaukee area.

Says Goldberg, "We know that there are plenty of talented people out there who can better describe what the YMCA is all about. We're anxious to hear and see what the local music scene can produce."

Musicians interested in competing in the YMCA New Song Challenge can obtain registration information at or stop in at a YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee branch. The song challenge auditions are November 2 at the John C. Cudahy YMCA at 9050 N. 91 St. (Swan Road) just north of Brown Deer Road. Performers will sign up for an audition and play for a panel of judges. A process of elimination will then send the top six finalists to a live television show. Musical acts will be judged on content, ability, enthusiasm and stage presence.

For more information about the upcoming event at the West Suburban YMCA or the YMCA New Song Challenge, call the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee at (414) 224-9622.