Monday, September 29, 2008

'GMA' Clip

True to form, the Hullabahoos uploaded the Good Morning America segment about collegiate a cappella—or rather, just the part of the segment where they appear. That video is here:

Must-Have LP: Part 2

Last week we wrote about "Campus Hootenanny," an awesome collegiate a cappella compilation LP from the 60s. (That post here.)

Well, another must-have bit of a cappella history popped up on eBay. There's been a lot of controversy in a cappella circles about studio effects on albums. Well, it may have started back in 1984 with the Bubs's album "Clue." Bill Allen, a Bub alum, was the engineer on this LP.

The effect in question: The record opens with a song called “Grazin’ in the Grass." Bill recorded the group saying the word “Pow” a few times. “I had them linger on pow,” Bill says, in a story told in Pitch Perfect. “Powwwwwww.” The Bubs were recording on 1/4 inch tape. Bill spliced the tape—literally. He took a pencil and scrubbed the mark, laid it on the splicing block and cut it with a razor. He flipped the tape, and played it back. And so the Powwwwww became a wwwwwwwwoP. “That’s how we got the big crescendo that starts that track,” Bill says.

A cappella fans, "Clue" is up for sale on eBay. Click here to bid!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

'Good Morning America' Indeed

Collegiate a cappella is "less Urkel than Usher," according to GMA Weekend. And the Tufts Beelzebubs were in the ABC studio this morning to prove it. That story from earlier today is here.

Video coming shortly...

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Cappella Returns to 'The Office'

If you're a fan of The Office, you know that Andy Bernard likes to talk about his old a cappella group, Cornell's Here Comes Treble. Well, in last night's season premiere, Bernard (played by Ed Helms) was at it again, trying to convince his fiance that the men of Treble should sing at their wedding. Check it out here:

Let's Try This Again...

The Good Morning America Weekend segment on collegiate a cappella (with a plug for Pitch Perfect) has been rescheduled for this Sunday morning in the 8 o'clock hour. Tune in!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yale A Cappella Smackdown!

Yale's fourteen a cappella groups (fourteen!) tapped new members last night. But some groups had to curtail their celebrations due to sanctions from, get this, the Singing Group Council—a governing body made up of reps from all the Yale a cappella groups.

The Yale Daily News reports:

"The SGC received seven formal complaints and numerous informal complaints pertaining to pre-tapping and illegal meetings between freshmen and a cappella members outside of the rush process," co-chair Sean Pool '09 said... As penalties, the SGC required the Baker’s Dozen to cancel its rush dinner, while the other three groups had to wait at the High Street gate for two extra minutes. During this time, other groups could begin the sprint through Old Campus to tap their picks and therefore get to them first. The SGC also levied an additional penalty on Mixed Company, which will have last pick for the date of its singing dessert next year.

The full-story is here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Cappella Karaoke?

At Cornell, my old a cappella group's signature song was a clever-ish take on "We Didn't Start the Fire" rewritten as, yes, "We Didn't Go to Harvard." Every few years my beloved Cayuga's Waiters would update the lyrics. And the song became so popular, the group eventually printed t-shirts, seen here. (Apparently they didn't sell well, because you can still buy one here.)

Anywho... someone went and posted "We Didn't Go To Harvard" and its lyrics on YouTube, in what may be the first case of a cappella karaoke. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Today's Brown Daily Herald has an interesting story about a cappella rush week, and the role alcohol plays in the festivities.

Reporter Kyla Wilkes writes:

Last Thursday at 11 p.m. all the a cappella groups crowded into lower Salomon for their traditional "midnight meeting" - affectionately dubbed "drunkapella" by some, said Allison Schneider '10, a member of the Chattertocks. As the group continues imbibing, Aronchick serves as a moderator "because we're all so loud and we're so drunk," said Matt Bauman '10, musical director for the Bear Necessities.

It's a theme! Yesterday we mentioned a Yale a cappella group that might lose its charter because of alchohol abuse. (That story here.) Meanwhile, the full story from Brown is here.

A Must-Have A Cappella LP

I recently started collecting collegiate a cappella LPs. I bought a bunch of old Cayuga's Waiters albums on eBay (I was a Waiter at Cornell), plus "Brothers in Song," the original Tufts Beelzebubs recording.

A few months ago I came across an LP called "Campus Hootenanny." The backstory: In 1964, five Ivy League collegiate a cappella groups—the Kroks, the Nassoons, Cayuga's Waiters, the Duke's Men, and the Jabberwocks—performed a group show at Brown University. RCA-Victor recorded the show and released it as a live LP. None of the old Waiters remember the show. I reached out to the Kroks, too, and despite their extensive alumni network (a note to younger groups, this is how it's done), as of yet no one has been able to recall the details. I'll keep researching.

In the meantime: The album is a pretty badass piece of collegiate a cappella history. Luckily for you, there's another copy floating around on eBay—all the way from the UK. Check it out here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Alcohol + A Cappella = Problems

From the Cross Campus column in today's Yale Daily News: "Forbidden alcohol at Rush Week singing desserts garnered penalties for a cappella groups Proof of the Pudding, the Baker’s Dozen and the Society of Orpheus and Bacchus. They face losing their tap night dinners or waiting an extra two minutes at the gate when awarding bids. Really."

Link here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

'Saturday Night Live' On Beat Boxing

So, James Franco (left) hosted Saturday Night Live last night, and his monologue featured a shout out to collegiate a cappella. I'll post the video when it surfaces. In the meantime, a rough transcript:

Franco recently enrolled at Columbia University. His monologue was about life on campus for a movie star. His fictional resident advisor, Craig (played by Jason Sudeikis) showed up to give Franco some advice about being an undergraduate celebrity.

CRAIG, THE R.A.: "I know what it's like to be the cool dude on campus. I can't set foot in Java the Cup without people saying, Hey man, There's that guy who beatboxes for the Funk Tones."

FRANCO: Who are the Funk Tones?

CRAIG: We're the school's most popular non-tryout, non-Lesbian a cappella group.

FRANCO: Sounds great.

CRAIG: Don't patronize me James.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Collegiate A Cappella is Hip!

At least that's what this weekend's edition of USA Weekend magazine says! Check out that story here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ed Helms: Proud-ish A Cappella Alum

Ed Helms of NBC's The Office, an a cappella alum we'd interviewed for Pitch Perfect, again opens up about his days as an Oberlin Obertone in the pages of this week's New York magazine. "I love a cappella music, but I loathe a cappella music," he says. "It's the most paradoxical art form there is."

Read the full story here. And, to prove Ed's point, here's the Obertones singing a strangely aggressive version of Toto's "Africa."

Friday, September 12, 2008

'Good Morning America' On A Cappella...

...Bumped to Sunday!

In the meantime, a gold star to anyone who can find audio of Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer from her days singing with the Wellesley Blue Notes!

A Cappella Inspires Safe Sex.

Just watch it.

A Cappella on "Good Morning America: Weekend."

Folks, time to set your TiVOs. Or VCRs. Or whatever you record television with. Because the fine folks at ABC's Good Morning America Weekend are prepping a piece on the rise of collegiate a cappella, set to air tomorrow morning in the 8am hour.

GMA Weekend shot video of the Hullabahoos down at UVA and the Kingsmen (photo here courtesy of my camera phone) up at Columbia, and even solicited video from Divisi. A GMA producer interviewed me about Pitch Perfect, as well. And there's talk that the Tufts Beelzebubs will perform live.

Tune in tomorrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who Sang It Better?

In this edition of "Who Sang It Better?" we've got Paramore doing "Misery Business" live at MTV's Video Music Awards...

...and the UVA Hullabahoos singing that same song last fall. Thoughts?

Monday, September 8, 2008

R&B. For Reals.

UVA's own R&B a cappella group, Remix, delivers first sign of credible rap in collegiate a cappella.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rage Against the Machine.

Rage Against the Machine turned up at a Twin Cities festival promoting non-partisan politics—and the band was turned away. Rather than walk, they resorted to (yes) a cappella. With a megaphone.

Clip (and story) here. The music is three minutes in. Word.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Cappella in 'Paste' magazine

The Carleton College Singing Knights—an a cappella group devoted to indie rock covers, a group which we mentioned on the blog back in March—get a shout out in the September issue of the hip music magazine Paste.

Check out the item here.

Hyannis Sound at Fenway.

Friday, August 29th. Fenway Park.