A Swinging Jamboree

 

 

Kate Preziosi

Last Friday, April 13, The Swinging ‘Gates and The Colgate 13 took the Memorial Chapel stage for “Jamboree,” a concert meant to showcase the talent of the upperclassmen in the two nationally renowned single-sex a capella groups.

“Part of growing up is learning to say goodbye,” senior Dan Campanile shared with the audience. “That’s what tonight is all about.”

The evening opened with a seven song set from The Swinging ‘Gates, who took the stage and immediately broke into their first number, “Wonder” with a soft and compelling solo from senior Suzan Garnett.

For the third number, “Wide Open Spaces,” the fifteen ‘Gates on stage welcomed their first-years members watching in the audience to join them. This year, the ‘Gates accepted ten new members, making the class of 2010 tied for the largest incoming group ever.

“Our class of new ‘Gates is a very animated group and they bring a lot of spirit to their stage performance,” senior Administrative Leader Marina Gibbons noted, who sang the solo for the number. “Wide Open Spaces’ is a song that really must be energetic. Having them sing automatically makes the performance livelier.”

Senior Musical Leader Athena Chen followed two songs later with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” Her deep and soulful voice easily transitioned between the varying pitches of the classic Franki Valli single. Chen later commented on the tone she hoped to create for this year’s “Jamboree.”

“As musical leader this year, I really strived to put together a set that would appeal to a diverse audience, with songs ranging from different genres, while really giving the soloists a chance to shine,” Chen said. “It’s always really exciting to perform in the Chapel, and Friday was no exception!”

Following the ‘Gates final number, “Time and Tide” with a solo by senior Laura Wolff, The Colgate 13 took the stage to open with “Carolina in the Morning,” a traditional tune sung by the whole group.

“In many respects, our class feels like the group has come a long way since we first got here,” senior Jeff Smidt remarked, Assistant Leader of The Colgate 13. “Our alums think we’re one of the strongest groups musically in over 20 years, and it was great to be on that stage, ‘at home’ and in front of our friends and family.”

The 13 introduced a unique blend of tradition and humor with their ten-song set. After wrapping up the fifth number, “Africa,” soloist Smidt lingered on the stage to introduce the upcoming soloist.

“You know him as Brendan Dwyer,” Smidt said to the audience, “But to us, he is known lovingly as Stick, and without him, none of this would be necessary.”

The group then launched into “That Cat Is High,” a lively prohibition tune from the 1920’s complete with senior Dwyer swaying at the microphone and making broad gestures to accompany his comical performance.

“I was hoping to present a mix of sentimentality and cheer, as I believe it was such a special year,” senior Leader Matthew Skrzynski explained. “I wanted to showcase the talent of some incredible soloists.

Indeed, the final number “Me and the Boys,” a Nylon’s tune from the 80’s, did just that, displaying the vocal talents of several of the performers in an upbeat medley of solos. Before beginning his solo earlier in the set, senior Brendan Dwyer paused to reflect upon what senior Swinging ‘Gate member Marina Gibbons had described as “a particularly poignant concert for the seniors.”

“As I look out at the Chapel, I see many familiar faces,” Dwyer said. “These last four years have been good to me, and I hope this next song I’m going to sing does some justice to that fact.”

With that message in mind, the seniors of The Swinging ‘Gates and The Colgate 13 completed their fourth “Jamboree” and brought a year of excellence for a capella at Colgate to a close.