Here are some of my favorite collegiate a cappella bands. When The Bobs redefined and revitalized the concept of a cappella, many college campuses around the country began their own a cappella bands. Sort of the modern equivalent of a glee club.
The annual competition (and compilation disc) BOCA — Best of Collegiate A Cappella (and its “sister” project BOHSA for high schools) is a wonderful resource to discover new bands to delve into. I especially recommend “Wasting Our Parents’ Money” album.
These are “my” bands. The bands that helped shape who I am, roughly in order of how much they mean to me.
Dave Mattingly: The Musical, Part 10
- UPenn Off the Beat
- Known For: Criminal
- Memories: OTB is the band to beat when it comes to collegiate a cappella. They encompass a wide range of musical styles, with an emphasis on alternative rock. Their large membership affords them many talents and specialties, so they can perform songs that would be difficult for smaller bands.
- Favorite Songs: Mixed Bizness, What I Got, Beautiful Stranger, Madness, Just Can’t Get Enough, Walking on Broken Glass, All Mixed Up, No Rain, Where the Streets Have No Name, What’s Up, Don’t Leave Me This Way, Inside Out, Africa
- Stanford Mixed Company
- Known For: Somebody to Love
- Memories: Stanford Mixed Company also has an amazing repertoire spanning decades, giving them the song for every occasion. This band is a great source for vocalizing pop music. Their arrangement of “Mummer’s Dance” is astounding.
- Favorite Songs: Mummer’s Dance, Techno Medley, Let Me Go, We Belong, New Shoes, When Doves Cry, Flood, Ready to Go, Mercy
- UNC Loreleis
- Known For: Death by Chocolate
- Memories: I still get chills from hearing the overlapping harmonized staccato a cappella backgrounds for Dreams.
- Favorite Songs: Dreams, O Brother Where Art Thou Medley, Layla, Roll to Me, Good Life, Harder to Breathe, Simon and Garfunkel Medley
- Penn Six-5000
- Known For: Conrad Bain
- Memories: Penn 6-5000 aka Penn Six, does a great job of parodying popular songs while still keeping the collegiate beatboxing a cappella going. Their brilliant “Conrad Bain” sung to the Police’s “King of Pain” bemoans the fate of an actor known only for his role as Mr. Drummond on Different Strokes. “Conrad Bain” is also the sometime alias of a friend of mine when he doesn’t want his real name to be discovered as he checks into hotels.
- Favorite Songs: I Ran, Flagpole Sitta, Ain’t No Moonshine, Little Black Submarines
- Runners Up: Dartmouth Aires, Stanford Counterpoint, Stanford Harmonics, Tufts Beelzebubs, USC Sirens, Virginia Hullabahoos, Xtension Chords, Straight No Chaser
Go back to Part 9: Covers or onto Part 11: Outsider Music