By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Following the recent success of collegiate “a cappella” group (Italian for “in the manner of the chapel”) the Yale Whiffenpoofs, comes the newer, contemporary sound of Out of The Blue, a team of Yale undergraduates who will be performing at the Jubilee Hall in Rio on Monday, May 14th.
Out of the Blue was first formed in 1986, comprised of a group of eight students, both male and female, who set out to re-brand a cappella and make it more accessible to the younger generation. In so doing, they changed many of the common perceptions surrounding a cappella that, for many, refers to traditional songs by the likes of Cole Porter combined with the customary coat tails and white gloves attire such as that donned by the Whiffenpoofs.
Musical director for the group, Andre Schomorony explains the difference between the two Yale groups, “The Whiffs tend to sing more traditional American folk and art music, whereas our repertoire includes a lot more pop-rock, including songs by The Beatles, Elton John, Michael Bublé and Lady Gaga.”
In order to remain at the cutting edge of a capella and stand out amongst the fifteen other groups at Yale, OOTB carefully select five to seven new songs each year from a list of prominent rock and pop tracks featured in current music charts.
Recently, their hard work and attention to detail has indeed paid off after the group were crowned U.S. Northeast Champions at the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella. Later on they were selected as a finalist in the 2012 competition that could see them ranked among the top seven collegiate a cappella groups in the world.
The group of undergraduates, who have already performed to audiences in Los Angeles, London, Switzerland and Germany, now embark on a tour of Montreal, Singapore and Rio de Janeiro, where they will sing at a variety of venues including schools and clubs.
According to Schomorony, “I think I am most looking forward to two specific performances: our performance for the British and Commonwealth Society, because it will be incredible to connect with an international community and our performance at [Cidade de Deus,] City of God, with the children of the choir ‘Vozes da Cidade de Deus’ –with such busy schedules, Yalies often can’t find time to engage in community service, and this will be a great opportunity (especially for a Carioca like me) to give back to the community.”
Schomorony, who happens to be a Carioca, is delighted to be able to perform in his home city as well as acting as tour guide to the rest of the group. He explains, “I am very excited to show off the Marvelous City to my [Out of the Blue] friends. People have been impatiently waiting for this trip, and I’ve already promised to take our group to Corcovado, Pão de Açúcar, Lapa, Jardim Botanico, Ipanema beach and many more awesome places.”
One a cappella fan that is looking forward to seeing the group sing in Rio is former Yale alum Ben Edwards. A strong supporter of the Yale a cappella tradition, Edwards explains “A cappella goes back centuries to monastic plain song at least. Most of the Ivy League schools have formal glee-clubs and informal song groups like Andre’s. I’ve never heard them sing, but would be surprised if they’re not worth listening to.”
Out of the Blue will be performing at the Jubilee Hall in Botafogo on May 14th, anyone wishing to attend the show can purchase tickets on the door for R$20. Contact the British Commonwealth Society via their website for further details.