Singing their way to the top

A tiny, unbearably warm room in the basement of Ivory Tower wouldn’t normally bode well for holding a young woman’s attention. But fill that room with 12 young men who sing, rumors of pants-less rehearsals and a bit too much testosterone, and suddenly things get interesting. Who could these charming fellas be? None other than the Sons of Pitch, GW’s all-male a cappella group.

The Sons of Pitch, who were formed due to a lack of all-male a cappella on campus, have been serenading audiences, wooing the ladies and attempting to make a cappella look cool since their beginnings four years ago. But now, they’ve got even bigger plans than getting a date on a Friday night.

SOP, as the group is more commonly called, will be holding their newest event, the “United States of A Cappella,” this Saturday night at 7 and 9:30 p.m., in the United Church on G Street. The philanthropic event will raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, in addition to getting SOP’s name on the map as a reputable a cappella group.

“United States of A Cappella,” or “USA,” will be a combination of performances by a cappella groups from up and down the East coast, making this a unique event in GW’s a cappella history. In addition to a performance by SOP, “USA” features five guest groups: Tuft University’s Amalgamates, the NYU Cleftomaniacs, John Hopkins University’s Octopodes, Fordham University Satin Dolls, and UPenn’s Pennsylvania Six 5000. With some of these groups garnering a cappella fame across the nation, SOP is hoping for a huge crowd as well as a large donation for the JDRF.

“Ideally we’d like 1,200 people. We would like to pack both shows,” said SOP’s Business Manager, Alex Hecht. “Hopefully $6,000 minimum.”

Hecht explained that based on the amount of money “USA” will bring in, SOP tried to choose a foundation which could truly benefit from their donation. The JDRF seemed to be a perfect fit for such an event. Also important, SOP’s idea was received extremely well by the JDRF, who Hecht says has been backing the boys 100 percent through the whole process (and will even be sending a representative to the event).

However, raising money isn’t the only motive behind “USA.” In addition to making a donation to the JDRF, SOP is hoping that “USA” will bring them various other results.

For one, “USA” centers on music and singing, making the concert’s quality of utmost importance to the Sons.

“As much as this is a concert to raise money for JDRF, it’s also an opportunity for us to put on, what we’re hoping to be, and what I think we’re confident is going to be, the best a cappella show this campus has ever seen,” Music Director and one of SOP’s founders, Phil Sherman said.

Also important is the publicity this unique event has the potential to bring SOP. Though “USA” is new to GW, the concept of a cappella concerts which raise money for charity is not the first idea of its kind. Already in existence at GW is the annual “A Cappella-Palooza,” (hosted by the GW Troubadours) which combines performances by all of the GW groups, and raises money for charity. “Palooza,” in addition to other similar events at colleges across the country, inspired SOP’s “USA,” but the boys were looking for something different, something bigger – an event which could help make their name common in dorm rooms across campus, and hopefully colleges across the States, as well.

Says SOP member and Director of Marketing, Erik Bergmann, “What we want is for this concert to become a big thing, a tradition, something that puts JDRF, SOP, GW, a cappella even, in people’s minds, in the forefront of people’s minds, at this time of year.”

Though Bergmann’s aspirations (which match those of the rest of the group) seem a bit steep for such a young group and new event, the sheer existence of “USA” will help the boys gain publicity as well as network with other groups.

As freshman member Sal Colleluori points out, “If we start getting groups from other places, you never know who they’re going to bring, or who they even know . We already know what goes on in GW’s campus, so getting groups from other places kind of varies things up a bit.”

Despite having high expectations, SOP does genuinely strive for one overall goal with the creation and production of “USA”: they want to make an impact. Be it through raising money, gaining publicity or meeting other a cappella students, SOP wants to leave its mark on GW, and, idealistically, on D.C. As Sherman comments, he hopes that USA will make others aware that even a cappella can “make a difference.”

Unable to predict whether “USA” will be a hit, one can at least expect an entertaining night from this group of debonair young men, while donating money to a good cause.

“United States of A Cappella” will be held in the United Church on 20th and G streets on Saturday. Shows are at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Minimum donation of $5; all proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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