TBA Maintains High Standards
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by Sara Thompson
Imagine singing the national anthem at a rally for Hillary Clinton, singing doo-wop songs in front of a pink Cadillac for Race for the Cure, working with the Grammy Award winning a cappella group Chanticleer, singing for a packed audience in Carrick Theatre and performing on street corners in Italy, Croatia and Slovenia during May Term—the men of Transy Boys A Cappella, or TBA, don’t need to imagine these events; they only need to look back on the past year.
A cappella is vocal music without instrumental accompaniment, incorporating many different genres of music including modern rock, barbershop and doo-wop.
“TBA is entirely student run; we do this purely for the love of singing harmonies and performing shows. We’re doing it just because we want to,” said junior music major and TBA member Kris Olson.
TBA was formed in 2006 by Campbell and Dayton Harris, a senior music major.
“TBA has gone so much farther than I could have ever imagined, especially after our first year when we only sang at four events the entire year. This year the group has sang at close to 30 different events around Transy and in the surrounding Lexington area. There were times when it was rough, but the group always pushed through the tough times and continued to do what we love,” said senior Matt Campbell, a founding member of TBA.
The group’s performance at Campus Sing in the spring of 2007 made their presence known on campus.
“Campus Sing put them on the map,” said Olson, who was not a member at the time, but joined in the fall of 2007.
In the spring of 2008, along with singing the national anthem at Transylvania’s rally for then Senator Clinton, TBA held their first annual show during May Term.
“This was when we first saw the potential for the group. We started to make our own arrangements,” said Olson. TBA currently has 12 original arrangements, including “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Who Put the Bomp?”, “Wade in the Water” and “Teenager in Love.”
Olson described the beginning of the past school year as “starting off with a bang” for TBA. They gained three new members, totaling 10 at the beginning of the year. They also sang at their first paying event, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and each member earned $350.
They were also able to organize a master class with the world-renowned a cappella group Chanticleer in November 2008.
“It was a fantastic experience and opportunity for us and we learned a lot from it,” said Olson.
Even though the group started the year strongly, they experienced some minor problems after Fall Semester.
“By December we were having some problems. We lost three members at the beginning of Winter Term, and we had to revoice and rearrange parts,” Olson said.
However, the group did not let this set-back slow them down. TBA performed at the Kentucky Theatre on Feb. 9 as a pre-show for the Woodsongs Old-time Radio Hour, and at the beginning of May Term they performed three shows in three nights as a part of Transy’s Alumni Weekend.
Their second annual show was held on May 3 in Carrick Theatre, and they sang a variety of genres including barbershop, spirituals, doo-wop and childhood favorites such as “Gullah Gullah Island.”
“It [the past year] was definitely stressful, considering we lost a lot of members progressively throughout the year. However, it’s all worth it to get up in front of a good audience and just sing and have fun with a bunch of good friends. That’s when all our hard work pays off,” said sophomore member Matt Bradley.
For the future, Olson would like to see the group record a CD and go on a mini-tour to Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Louisville.
“I would love to see TBA to continue on and continue to grow after I graduate. There would be no greater feeling for me than to come to my Alumni Reunions and have TBA singing at the event like we did this year for the Reunions,” said Campbell.
TBA is currently touring Italy, Croatia and Slovenia with the Transylvania University Choir.