Yale a cappella group performs at Eagle Hill


Yale University’s Mixed Company a cappella group spent a day with students at Eagle Hill-Southport.

Austin, a tall young man in glasses, sounded a pitch pipe and pointed around the circle of expectant faces. “Ah-one, ah-two, ah-three…,” he said, and voices fell in line, altos, tenors, basses and sopranos, with a perfect rise and blend of sounds.

Yale University’s a cappella group, Mixed Company, performed and conducted workshops with students at Eagle Hill-Southport on Oct. 24.

During the morning, an assortment of hums, doo-wops, beats and percussive vocalizations resonated throughout the school as Yale’s singers demonstrated how notes, pitch and rhythm create harmonies and led Eagle Hill’s students in replicating them.

Selections ranged from Broadway melodies to popular tunes as workshop participants stood in the circle with members of Mixed Company, singing as instructed to form the background as soloists took center stage.

Eagle Hill student Jared Kay of Trumbull was one of the volunteers who stepped forward to support a Yale Soloist in singing “Airplanes” by B.O.B.

“I never sing in front of people,” Jared said. “Usually I feel embarrassed, but this time, it felt okay.”

Calvin Caione of Fairfield said that singing Katy Perry’s “Firework” with one of the Yale soloists was his favorite part of the day. When he asked if he did much singing, he said, “No. This was new for me.”

The culmination of the group’s visit was a performance for the entire school. It was apparent that the day’s lessons in rhythm and keeping time had been absorbed as students in the audience clapped, tapped their feet, drummed with pencils and danced in their seats.

“They were awesome,” said Kate Hynes of Wilton, while Jaylin Hopkins of Westport said, “I definitely hope they come back.”

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