The Resolutions: Community Performances Underscore Community-Centric Attitude

Recent performances around the Village of Hamilton are drumming up new interest in the Resos, one of the five a cappella groups at Colgate. 

While they refer to themselves as the Resos, the group’s official name is the Colgate Resolutions. Senior and music director Rachella Carlino described this nickname as a clever wordplay from its founders 31 years ago, when the Resos were established as the first gender-inclusive a cappella group at Colgate. 

“[The name] Resolutions has a double meaning,” Carlino said. “It’s supposed to be like you’re resolving the tensions between male and female and making it all-inclusive, but also a play on words because it’s like resolving a chord.”

As heirs to the Resos’ open-minded and welcoming historical background, members of the group are still of the conviction that the group is more than just a club. 

“The Resos are not only dedicated to good music, but dedicated to each other,” Carlino said. “The motto of our group is that you can’t make good music if the internal relations in the group aren’t going well […] the first priority has to be the other people.”

Junior member Arden Knapp found that this special quality is clear from the very first time a member steps into the group.  

“When I auditioned for the [a cappella] groups, something about the Resos just clicked for me and I knew that they were who I wanted to sing with for the next four years,” Knapp said. “This group has made my college experience so special.” 

According to junior and community coordinator Nicholas Cinnamo, joining the Resos is a great way to make friends, likely because members share a common joy in singing a cappella. 

“It’s probably my favorite thing that I do here, just because it’s so fun, and you kind of forget about everything else — you’re just singing. It’s something that we all really love, so I think that’s what makes it cool too, it’s that shared interest, that shared passion,” Cinnamo said. 

Genuine enthusiasm for a cappella turns out to be a necessary element of the group’s success. The Resos are entirely student-led, and while Carlino finds the autonomy to be freeing, it also means that personal responsibility to the group is crucial. Luckily, every member of the Resos seems to be just as devoted as the next. 

“A cappella in college is very much what you’re making it, and the commitment that you want to put in, how you buy in with the community, how you make social connections. [You] take that upon yourself, and it’s no one else’s job but yours,” Carlino said. “Every single person in the group decides to dedicate themselves to this one mission and to each other. And I think that’s really special. Because it’s optional — they don’t have to do that.”

The process for choosing pieces of music to add to the Resos’ repertoire is orderly and democratic. Every member has the chance to suggest new songs via Google Form at the beginning of a semester, which Carlino then places in a massive playlist for members to listen to before they are voted on.

One of the greatest challenges of a cappella, according to Carlino, involves the maintenance of the repertoire. Songs should be consistently added so that the repertoire is current and exciting, but older pieces and arrangements also need to respected, as well as different genres and musicians that might not necessarily be as popular at the moment.

Before the pandemic, the Resos typically had about 40 songs in their repertoire, memorized, practiced and ready to be performed at a moment’s notice. Because of the pandemic-related rehearsal challenges, their repertoire has decreased. One of Carlino’s goals as the group’s leader is to expand it to its previous depth. 

Another one of the group’s goals is to increase awareness of the Resos at Colgate and in the greater Hamilton community.

“My challenge now is how to take the group from what it’s been doing for 15 years, and how it’s been working really well, but to move it one step forward,” Carlino said. “What can we do now that’s going to expand our group, make us have a better impact in the Colgate community, [the] Hamilton community as a whole?”

Toward this goal, the Resos recently held performances at Good Nature Brewery and Flour & Salt. Far from spontaneous, these events had been coordinated by Cinnamo before the semester began, bolstered by the fact that the owners of both of these local businesses are Resos alumni. Knapp found the performances to be successful demonstrations of the Resos’ potential and deeply enjoyable experiences for both the performers and the audience.

“I love how excited everyone is to be on stage and perform for our audience. It is so rewarding to be able to share our music and arrangements with Colgate and the surrounding community. I always get nervous before every concert, but knowing that I have 22 of my friends on stage by my side always calms my nerves,” Knapp added. 

For the rest of the year, the Resos are looking forward to their performance at Parents’ Weekend, setting up concerts in the Ho Tung Visualization Lab and around campus, recording a longer CD and embarking on their annual tour within the Northeastern U.S. to perform at several different venues.

Ultimately, though, the most important thing to their members is that they continue to be a close-knit, dedicated community.

“It’s not just something that I do a few times a week,” mused Cinnamo. “It’s like a family.”