Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A random reminiscence on past experiences with a cappella

For a small, liberal arts college that (when I first arrived more than 10 years ago) still allowed on-campus liquor deliveries from the local package store, Colby was a pretty clean-cut place. It had its cliques, its drug use, and lots and lots of drinking, but then what school doesn't? But when you wanted beefcake at Colby, you didn't have to look further than concerts by the male a cappella group, the Colby 8.

Preppy, handsome, and charming, the Colby 8 always recruited members who must have spent years perfecting their class clown capabilities because their concerts were always funny and always packed with undergrad girls (including me) who watched raptly with eyes full of stars and tried to be surreptitious in wiping the drool off their chins. The 8 did concerts in the library during exam week, they popped up in the Spa and the chapel, and they were pretty much like the small college version of celebrities. Girls wanted to date them. Guys enjoyed the concerts even if they refused to admit it. It was oh so very brick-and-ivy.

I coxed a bunch of the a cappella guys on the crew team and saw them do things like try to wipe their ball sweat on each other and take pictures of each other's fruit baskets on crew trips, and yet they still somehow seemed cool. And then, after graduation, I dated one of them for almost three years. And the thing was, J was in an a cappella alumni group. They continued the fun after college, and they were proud of it. So when I read articles like this, which make it sound like most former a cappella singers are mortified to admit their melodious pasts, I giggle because the alumni group did no such thing. They reveled in the singing, the paid gigs, the ability to maintain their college camaraderie, and the uniform (white shirt, khakis, brown belt, tie). And they still perform at Colby, usually during reunions and homecoming weekend. I missed their concert at our reunion last summer, but that was ok because every time I hear the songs they sang on the radio (hello, "Semi-Charmed Kind of Life" and "The Way" by Fastball), I have to change the channel because I heard them way too many times to be nostalgic about it.

Note: I have no idea where this post came from, but I read that Slate article and somehow felt like writing. Weird. Call it therapeutic?

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