Buckley coming up!
Sheffield Elementary School (3/30/07)
Today, we had an absolutely amazing gig at Sheffield Elementary School, about half an hour away from Amherst. It was an early Friday morning, so four of our guys had classes they couldn't miss (coincidentally, it was the four freshmen who actually had class on Friday morning). Without thouse four, and the three that are away this semester (Chris Gillyard '08, James Park '08, and Ben Babbott '10E), we were a mere seven men strong. Nonetheless, we took the stage with energy and smiles, and everybody seemed to have a good time.
They had just finished the Pledge of Allegiance, so we decided to open with Andrew Barkan '02's arrangement of "The Star Spangled Banner." Next, we performed Jason Blynn '04's arrangement of the jazzy "Hit That Jive Jack" for the first time this year. Then, we slowed the concert down with Chanticleer's choral arrangement of "Down by the Sally Gardens," which featured John Babbott '07. During our Q & A session after the show, one of the kids politely commented, "When you sang the bedtime songs, it put me right to sleep." Just like we intended.
Other features of our half-hour show included Andrew Rubenstein '07 on The Beatles' "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and on Marvine Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," when we realized we were missing a voice part. John and Andrew closed the concert with Zumbye classic "What's Your Name," but the kids demanded an encore. We returned with Pat Savage '07 on "Boogie Down," which repeats the line, "You can be what you want to, you know all you need is to get your boogie down." Pat couldn't resist altering it once to, "You know all you need is to do your homework." It was a fantastic performance.
If you know of any elementary schools (preferably nearby) that might want us to perform, please let us know! Singing for little kids is just too much fun, even early Friday morning.
ICCA Semifinals (3/24/07)
Competing in the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) for the first time in 5 years, we are extremely excited to announce that we are the 2007 New England Region Champions! Having braved multiple quaterfinal rounds in locations across New England, the remaining 8 groups gathered in MIT's Kresge Auditorium on March 24 to compete for the region's single bid to the international final at Lincoln Center in New York.
By the good graces of the gods shining down upon us and a trio of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," The Beatles' "Blackbird," and Michael Jackson's "Thriller," we won over the judges and the opportunity to compete against 2007's 6 best collegiate groups on April 21st. Scores were much lower at the semifinals than at the quarterfinals; we had scored 422 out of 465, but we only scored 388 here. Still, that was enough to beat the second-place group, the Brown Higher Keys, by 45 points (they scored 343).
If you live anywhere near North America, we would love your support (or good energy from afar) on our quest for our first-ever ICCA title. Visit www.varsityvocals.com/icca for more information, or click here http://www.lincolncenter.org/show_events_list.asp?eventcode=14351 to purchase tickets directly. We hope to see you at Lincoln Center!
Jambo! 2007 (2/16/07)
Jambo! was a really fun show. Our "Hell Week" (the week before the show, during which we rehearse for 5-7 hours per night) was particularly brutal because the heat wasn't functioning in Johnson Chapel, but we persevered and ultimately put on an 11-song set. Before our performance began, the Mt. Holyoke V-8s opened for us just as we had for them earlier in the year.
We entered the Chapel with the lights turned off and while dressed in capes, carrying candles, and improvising a Gregorian chant. Once we took our places onstage, we went straight into Al Green's "Take Me to the River," with Andrew Rubenstein '07 as the soloist on a new arrangement from Andrew Barkan '02. The choreography was light and goofy, culminating in a gospel breakdown complete with baptism.
Next was John Babbott '07 on a Zumbye favorite, James Tayor's "Your Smiling Face." After that, we slowed the show done a little with a beautiful ensemble arrangement of the classic "Misty," which featured a mini-solo by Pat Savage '07. We then switched gears to the comedic for our first skit, which detailed the traumatic adolescence of the giant Goliath.
After the Goliath skit, we returned the stage with a classic Zumbye arrangement of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," followed by Darryl Weimer '10's solo debut on my new arrangement of James Taylor's "Mexico." John Babbott, dressed in a bee costume, moved the show along by performing a Public Service Announcement about the benefits of not drinking in college.
Once Darryl finished swatting John with a giant flyswatter, I sang the solo on Pat Savage '07's arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Lately," and then returned to the croissant to direct The Beatles' "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" with soloist Andrew Rubenstein '07. After that, we sang the Zum-classic "Sometimes I'm Happy" before clearing the stage for another skit.
This skit was (I thought) a remarkably accurate performance of the "Waltz of the Snowflakes" from "The Nutcracker." Afterwards, we entered the final part of our set with "Have a Little Faith In Me," a John Hiatt tune that was originally arranged by Pete Harper '05, then recently modified by Michael Kohl '06, and was sung beautifully by Brendan Horton '08.
We "closed" the show with Michael Kohl's stunning new arrangement of The Beatles "Blackbird," which Andrew Rubenstein '07 completed with a mini-solo. After leaving the stage, we returned to a generous audience and presented an encore of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," an absolute showstopper arranged by Michael Kohl '06, choreographed by Chris Gillyard '08 and James Park '08, and carried by soloist Greg Curreri '09.