On Friday 13th October at Lower College Hall, approximately 150 individuals united in their love for three things: black tie, balls, and a cappella. These principles are embodied by ten young men, each in possession of above average singing skills and adequate dance abilities. Those men are the Other Guys, and they successfully organised a ball.
Now in their thirteenth year, the all-male a cappella group have reached the apex of their oeuvre. Rather than resting on their laurels following smash hits “St Andrews Girls” and “Royal Romance,” TOG has continued to develop St Andrews-centric pop covers – most recently, 2015’s charity single “It’s Raining Men.” Guests of the aptly-named Other Ball were treated to live renditions of these bangers, in addition to several more equally iconic tunes.
The performances struck a particularly heart-warming note, as the current TOG lineup was joined by members from the recent past. One could hardly spot a dry eye in the house when Charles McGlone hit the final notes of “St Andrean Skies,” witnessed by friends, family, and even a founding member of TOG. This guest list was eclectic, bearing in mind the varying walks of life from which TOG’s members hail, but ultimately attendees bore a shared respect for St Andrews’ leading a cappella group.
Clearly a labour of love, the event allegedly has been over a decade in the making. TOG alumni Ryan Hubner recalls hearing talk of an “Other Ball” in his first year, with rumours dating back even further. This extensive history was on display throughout the ballroom, depicted in physical snapshots scattered across tables and through CDs offered to guests. The room was all but wallpapered in TOG branding, a fact wryly remarked upon by group members. Speeches struck a fine balance between self-indulgent and self-deprecating, genuine and satirical, heartwarming and comedic. In this manner, the ball exemplified the spirit of TOG: earnest, passionate, yet with a constant sense of self-awareness behind the solemnity.
Framed by a cappella performances, the three course meal eventually gave way to a raucous afterparty, which in turn gave way to yet another afterparty. Parents danced alongside their children, bowties came on and off, and impromptu singing was abundant. The Other Ball certainly hit all the right notes; and being held in support of mental health charity Heads Together, it benefited an exceptional cause.