St Andrews loves to sing. For a small, sleepy university town on Fife’s east nouk, we have a staggering array of talented and absolutely fabulous a cappella groups. Kicking off our new academic year with fiercely competitive auditions, those who made it through the gruelling heats have been hailed as superstars amongst us.
Please welcome our new faces of a cappella: The Hummingbirds, The Alleycats, The Accidentals, The Other Guys, and our new unauditioned group, The Vocal Bandits.
1. Introduce your group in 3 words.
VB: Mixed, Unaudtioned, Fun
TOG: #ifcarlsbergmadeacappellagroupswedbethedom, #hashtagsonlycountasoneword, #pineapple
Acc: Fun, feisty and fierce!
2. What vibe are the new members bringing to the group this year?
TOG: Dan “The Crayfish” Stephans and Xander “Levi Roots” Johnson are bringing a splash of crustacean-y reggae goodness to the group.
Ally: The Alleycats were searching for singers who have good vocals for pop, and this year we have some SERIOUS sass and soul which we are going to play around with.
Humm: The hummingbirds are friends who share the same passion for music and a cappella – we hope that our 3 lovely new members will add their own unique personalities to the already vibrant group dynamic.
3. Which performance are you most looking forward to?
VB: We are looking forward to the Christmas concert because who doesn’t love Christmas time!
Acc: Opening for Beyonce 2013. Just kidding, probably our first performance as a new group this year.
Ally: In 2 weeks the 11/12 group are heading to Manchester to compete in BBC Choir of the Year’s Category Finals (and then we get to wapp out our cringe Christmas Jumpers for the Christmas Concert!).
4. Who would be your dream collaboration, and with what song?
VB: Sam Tsui (look him up on youtube)- Funky town
TOG: Jay-Z – 99 Problems (and the TOGs ain’t one)
Ally: Willow Smith, “Whip My Hair”
5. What is the secret to a successful a cappella group?
Acc: Confidence and attitude: WWBD? (What would Beyonce do?)
Ally: White pleather hi-tops
Humm: Listening to each other is definitely a crucial part of singing a cappella. It’s important that you’re not afraid to make mistakes when first learning a part – like we always say in practice, sing it “strong and wrong”!
6. What makes the a cappella scene in St. Andrews so vibrant? (we have many more groups in comparison to a lot of other UK schools, why do you think this is?)
TOG: American girls with too much time on their hands (i.e. our fans)
Ally: St Andrews is SO TALENTED. The auditions this year were crazy – everyone was incredible! It’s such a tiny town the whole social community is a lot more close-knit than other universities, and so we get incredible support.
Humm: We think the a cappella scene is vibrant because St. Andrews is incredibly diverse compared to other UK universities. Also, it’s a well known fact that Americans love their a cappella!
7. What aspect of being in an a cappella group is the most and the least rewarding? (the arranging/performances/screaming fans…)
VB: Performing the pieces is definitely the most rewarding aspect of being in a group and it’s fantastic when all the harmonies blend well together. Arranging music can be a very long and slow process but it’s great when the hard work pays off.
TOG: Most: becoming BNOCs (big names on campus) and getting stalked for photos in the Union / male toilet in MaBells (true story)
Least: people who think we’re Out of the Blue.
Humm: Most: it’s great getting together with friends to do something you all love! And it’s incredibly rewarding when we learn a new song or even a new part and it all comes together!
Least: Finding sounds in songs that we just can’t replicate!
8. As a group, which musical performance would you travel back in time to see?
VB: The first ‘Voice Festival’ competition in St Andrews to see how far all the groups have come since then.
TOG: Maroon 5 singing Moves Like Jagger at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2011 (we’ll be watching again this year.)
Acc: The Spice Girls c.1996.
Ally: Britney performing “I’m a Slave 4 U” at MTV’s 2001 Video Music Awards
Humm: Even though we’re hummingbirds, the Rat Pack
9. Which rival group member do you secretly (well, now not so secretly…) want to steal for your group?
VB & ACC: BRENDAN MACDONALD!!! He’s an epic musical director!
TOG: As morally upstanding gents, we do not condone stealing. However, if Prince Harry gets bored of The Queen’s Singers, we’d love to have him. #wakingupinvegassolo
Humm: Any of the basses from the Alleycats or The Other Guys! Girl groups can always use a good low voice!
10. Where and when can we next see your group perform?
VB: Hopefully the Christmas Concert and the Christmas fair.
TOG: The Kate Kennedy Opening Ball, Saturday October 6th.
Acc: At Rascals in a week or two. Keep an eye on our Facebook or Twitter (@loveaccidentals) for more info! <3
Ally: You can find out by checking our brand new website! www.thealleycats.co.uk
Humm: We’ll be performing at the a cappella Christmas concert in December! Until then, we’ll be around so stay tuned! (Facebook)
Photo credits top to bottom:
- Hummingbirds by Sammi McKee
- The Other Guys by Sammi Mckee
- The Vocal Bandits by Sammi McKee
- The Alleycats by Nefeli Piree Iliou
- The Accidentals by Nefeli Piree Iliou