Section: Arts

Kenyon a cappella groups take music on the road over break

Kenyon a cappella groups take music on the road over break

The Ransom Notes traveled across Northern California. | GRACE THOMPSON

Kenyon Owls spread their wings over break as Kenyon a cappella groups went on tour, performing in various venues across the country, including libraries, chapels, restaurants and senior centers. 

The Owl Creek Singers, Kenyon’s soprano-alto group, flew to New York and Connecticut, where they performed songs such as “Love Fool” by The Cardigans and “Hypotheticals” by Lake Street Dive. In a longstanding collaboration with the Kokosingers, who also went on tour, they performed at the bar Madame X in Manhattan, owned by Amy McCloskey ’83. In an email to the Collegian, Jess Besca ’24 said, “I love getting to see people’s homes, eat meals together and just have one big slumber party for an entire week which usually results in lots of funny and special memories. It’s always nice to get time where we aren’t in school mode and can really just have a good time and sing together but also just be friends and enjoy each other’s company.”

The Ransom Notes, a gender-inclusive a cappella group, took on California’s Bay Area, performing in Palo Alto, Redwood City, Oakland and Berkeley, California. Fueled by complimentary bagels from Boichik Bagels in Berkeley, a few members of the group drove across California in Sylvan Maney ’24’s family car, performing hits such as “I’m Just Ken” from the “Barbie” movie and Chapell Roan’s “Red Wine Supernova.”

In separate emails to the Collegian, Maney and Billy Seeds ’26 both discussed humorous experiences from performing at a bar in Menlo Park, Calif. “One of the venues, a bar called The Dutch Goose, was not informed of our arrival, and so we performed in the middle of a loud, chattery scene with a lot of drunk people,” Maney said. “I think we won them over by the end of our performance, but at some point this 60-plus-year-old drunk guy was encouraged by other random patrons of the bar to go up, join our circle and attempt to conduct us on ‘I’m Just Ken.’” Seeds added, “He was terribly excited by the music and wanted to help keep us going any way he could — too bad he had no knack for conducting.”

The Chasers, Kenyon’s oldest a cappella group, raced from Boston to New York City, then crossed the finish line in the Washington, D.C., area, drawing many Kenyon alumni back to their shows. In a message to the Collegian, Will Hulsey ’26 wrote, “We performed our set list from this past winter concert. My favorite song was, as always, our traditional closer, ‘Amazing Grace.’ Some other favorites were ‘Meet Me in the Woods’ (originally by Lord Huron and performed by Jimmy Finnerty ’26 and Noah Spinar ’27) and ‘What is it About Men’ (originally by Amy Winehouse and performed by Bella Shawl ’26).”  

Take Five, Kenyon’s premier jazz a cappella group, finger-snapped their way from New York to Pennsylvania. “We tend to go on tour in our members’ hometowns because those are the places where we have connections to venues as well as places to stay,” Alana Goldstein ’25 wrote in an email to the Collegian

Each performance opened with “Soul Bossa Nova,” which sets the energy for the entire concert. Following the opener, Drew Sutherland ’25 soloed in “Dreamlover.” In an email to the Collegian, Mia Huerta ’25 described “Dreamlover” as one of her favorite songs and also popular with crowds. “I also loved singing ‘Feelin’ Good’ (Alana Goldstein ’25’s solo) because of the dramatic build-up of voices toward the end, plus our soloist sounded amazing on it!” she said. In Pittsburgh, Take Five alumnus Mike Henry ’21 joined the performance. In a message to the Collegian, Megan Lydon ’25 said, “I thought it was wonderful how they were able to take their talents and adapt so well to a new space. This shows the professionalism that even an a cappella group from a tiny school in Ohio can have. The members of the Pound Ridge community enjoyed their performance as much as I did!” 

Amanda Kuo ’26 of Take Five wrote in an email to the Collegian, “Overall, [the] tour was an amazing experience. I loved getting to experience my friends’ hometowns and sing for such a wide variety of audiences. However, the highlight of [the] tour really was spending it with the other members.” 

The Chasers, the Ransom Notes, the Kokosingers, the Owl Creek Singers and Take Five all had beautiful experiences sharing their talents with audiences across the country. Throughout winter break, Kenyon voices rang out from New York to California.

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