The Late Movies: Collegiate A Cappella
College students have been forming a cappella groups since at least the late 1800s, with the Rensselyrics of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute being the oldest known group. (They started out as the RPI Glee Club in 1873.) Women's collegiate groups, though, weren't formed until 1936. (Smith College's Smiffenpoofs were the first.)
Today, college a cappella groups are increasingly popular—Northwestern University has at least 15—and usually known for their fun renditions of classics and current hits. The videos below are just a small sampling of the many collegiate a cappella groups across the country—and the world.
Formed in 1873, RPI's Rensselyrics is the oldest known college a cappella group. Here they're performing Feist's "1234."
Yale's Whiffenpoofs is the longest continuously performing college a cappella group. Cole Porter was a member in 1913. Here they're performing "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Bublé.
The Smiffenpoofs formed in 1936 at Smith College after some Smith students were inspired by a Whiffenpoofs performance; they chose a similar name in honor of Yale's group. Here they perform The Beatles' "Because."
Mount Holyoke College's Victory Eights, or V8s, founded in 1942, is the longest continuously performing all-female college a cappella group. Here they perform "Come On Eileen," the Dexys Midnight Runners hit.
Tufts University's oldest a cappella group is The Beelzebubs, an all-male group that formed in 1962. Here they perform Styx's "Come Sail Away."
The Amalgamates is the oldest co-ed a cappella group at Tufts University; they've released 11 albums since their formation in 1984. Here they perform Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance."
Straight No Chaser
Straight No Chaser formed as a student a cappella group at Indiana University in 1996. After a recording of one of their 1998 performances went viral in 2006, the original members landed a record deal. Today, the original members perform and record as Straight No Chaser, while the university's a cappella group performs and records as Indiana Unviersity's Straight No Chaser. Here the original members sing Solomon Linda's "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in a 1998 school performance.
Redefined is a co-ed a cappella group at University of Wisconsin-Madison known for their "Nintendo Medley." This performance of the medley is from their 2009 spring show.
Out of the Blue
Out of the Blue is an all-male a cappella group at the University of Oxford, although membership is not limited to Oxford students. Here they perform Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls." (Look out for the "Harry Potter" at the 00:39 mark.)
Rhythm and Jews
Rhythm and Jews is the University of Chicago's Jewish a cappella group. Here they perform "Schneinu B'Yachad," a variation of The Turtles' "So Happy Together.