IC’s Ithacapella to head west

Pop, doo-wop, bee-bop and barbershop—Ithacappella sings it all, and in early January this men’s a cappella ensemble from Ithaca College will take its special sound to the Bay Area of California. Performances will include singing the national anthem at a Golden State Warriors game as well as concerts in San Francisco’s Union and Ghirardelli Squares. Why would a group of 20 undergraduates from a comprehensive college in upstate New York travel 3,000 miles to share inspired music and onstage hi-jinks when they could be nestled at home during winter break? Because Ithacappella—like the Blues Brothers—is on a mission.“The goal of our tour is two-pronged,” said Tim Nowak, the Plainsboro, New Jersey, music education major who serves as Ithacappella’s president. “We hope to introduce Ithaca College to people in the Bay Area, especially to prospective students, and we want to entertain people while we’re doing it.”Serving as admission ambassadors is new for Ithacappella. Though the group often visits high schools to perform and give workshops on singing techniques, Ithacappella, on this current tour, will share insights on college life with students from five high schools in the Bay Area.The entertainment part of the mission, though, is second nature to Ithacappella. Since its founding in 1996, the group has spent fall and winter breaks playing to audiences in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Montreal, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. Ithacappella’s distinctive arrangements of traditional choral music, spirituals, barbershop, and contemporary pop tunes—as well as their onstage skits and antics—have attracted campus audiences as well. >From its humble beginnings performing in the college chapel, Ithacappella now performs to packed houses in the 700-seat Emerson Suites, the campus’s largest available performing venue.In addition to its live performances, Ithacappella has issued three CDs that demonstrate the group’s versatility. Selections include arrangements of “Danny Boy,” “Crash” by Dave Matthews, “Clocks” by Coldplay, and Howie Day’s “Collide.” Equally versatile is the group’s performance repertoire, which ranges from “Oh Holy Night” and “O Magnum Mysterium” to Billy Joel’s “She’s Got a Way,” “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and barbershop standard “Coney Island Baby.”

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