A 10-year tradition

Tickets still available for Brattleboro’s 10th annual Collegiate A Cappella Concert Weekend

BRATTLEBORO — The annual Collegiate A Cappella Benefit Concert turns 10 this year, and it rolls into the Latchis Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Always a popular event, the concert got a big boost when the Tufts University Beelzebubs were showcased on NBC's a cappella reality/competition show, The Sing-Off, which aired nationwide in 2009, after which the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center - whom the concert benefits - was swamped with ticket orders and sold out the 750-seat show before the holidays.

Returning as concert host is BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld, a former member of the Beelzebubs, Tufts University's oldest all-male a cappella group.

Last year's concert got an even bigger boost when the Dartmouth Aires were showcased on the December 2011 edition of NBC's The Sing-Off. One of the group's singers has just landed a role on the hit TV series Glee.

In addition to the Beelzebubs, and the Dartmouth Aires, the lineup for this year's concert includes the Zumbyes, an all-male a cappella group at Amherst College, the oldest group at the school. The concert will welcome a brand-new “hometown singer,” Matt Fernald, from Sharon, N.H. Also returning for the third year are the Mandarins, Syracuse University's premier female a cappella group, with hometown singer Kayla Rice.

Rice has lived in Brattleboro all her life and graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 2009. A member of The Madrigals and co-founder of the female a cappella group Spiralia at BUHS, she has been involved in a cappella since the seventh grade. A senior, she has returned to Syracuse University studying photojournalism and anthropology after a semester studying abroad in London.

After a four-year hiatus, returning this year are the Smiffenpoofs. The original hometown singer, Lousia Sullivan, now lives in London, so the group has a special surprise “hometown singer” to replace her.

The Smiffenpoofs, from Smith College, are the oldest female a cappella group in the nation, having continuously sung since 1936.

As a special anniversary addition,Wesleyan's Quasimodal will return with Brattleboro's own John Wesley, now of Syracuse, N.Y., where he moved after graduating from law school in Boston in 2012.

Wesley is also a member in a funk/soul party band, “The Moving Company,” co-founded in Boston with Sam Carmichael, Willie Gould, Max Perry, Duncan Scherer, Molly Steinmark, and Jared Steinmark, all raised in the Brattleboro area. The band reunites at least once or twice a year to play a friend's wedding or a favorite watering hole (often in Brattleboro).

Quasimodal, created in 1983 by Karen Escovitz, is Wesleyan University's oldest co-ed a cappella group, offering a mix of songs ranging from rhythm and blues through indie rock.

The Tufts University Amalgamates, or 'Mates, are also one of the concert's original groups, headlined by Dummerston's own Sean Ryan.

Founded in 1984, the Amalgamates are Tufts University's oldest coed a cappella group. Ryan, who graduated from BUHS in 2003, sang with the Amalgamates and, after graduating from Tufts in 2007, lived in Boston for several years before moving to Burlington, where he teaches elementary school Spanish.

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($20, balcony; $28, rear orchestra; $35, front orchestra) can be purchased at or from BMAC at 802-257-0124, ext. 101.

On Friday night, local high school groups give a warm-up concert of their own at BMAC. Admission at the door is $10, or $5 for students. All proceeds benefit the In-Sight Photography Project.

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