Reason #35: Old Groups Celebrating Tradition
In Reason #34, we talked about new groups starting out fresh in the a cappella world. As much as we love them, there’s still a lot to be said for groups that do have a long tradition. From alumni reunion shows, to having a traditional song to end each show, to arch sings, to iconic uniforms that have either remained the same or clearly evolved over time, groups that celebrate tradition have the opportunity to benefit from past wisdom and carry their groups along a linear path, always moving forward, because they know their past.
Old groups add a certain sense of legitimacy to a cappella based upon their longevity. On the surface level, a cappella is a pretty contemporary art form, customizing popular music, growing more mainstream through outlets like The Sing-Off. Longer standing groups can help us remember the proud tradition of barbershop and church groups that helped pave the way for the contemporary that’s so popular now, and groups The Yale Whiffenpoofs—recently celebrating 100 years in action as the oldest collegiate group, help to illustrate just how far the medium has come.
Beyond the value long-standing groups offer to fans and the a cappella community, though, there’s also the unmistakable value to current members and alumni. It’s a really cool thing to experience a show in which alumni play an active role—for example, watching The University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers win an ICCA semifinal, en route their first Finals in 2005, it was outstanding to see alumni join the roster on stage for their traditional closer, “Na Na Hey Hey Hey Goodbye”, celebrating both the immediate victory and the history of the group through a performance of a song they all knew.
I love it!