10 College a cappella groups to listen to now

10 College A Capella Groups To Listen To

Before hit shows like FOX's "Glee" or NBC's "The Sing-Off," university a cappella groups achieved mostly quiet recognition through competition performances on the college circuit and, occasionally, a lucky break on TV or YouTube. Today, these groups may be household names, at least among a cappella aficionados and music show fanatics. While a number of high-caliber ensembles croon on campuses across the country, some are noteworthy for their loyal fans, upbeat showmanship, community contributions, sheer longevity, media splash and online viral success. The following ten groups are just a few examples.

10 a capella college groups that stand out

  • Beelzebubs: Since 1962, this Tufts University all-male a cappella group has carried out its motto, "Fun Through Song." Their diverse repertoire ranges from rock or pop to hip hop, and Tufts magazine reports that their music has even been played in outer space. The "Bubs" competed on NBC's "The Sing-Off" and provided arrangements and back-up vocals for the Dalton Academy Warblers on FOX's "Glee." The Beelzebubs sponsor the not-for-profit Bubs Foundation, which raises money for music programs in Boston-area public schools.

  • The Bostonians: The oldest a cappella group at Boston College, this 12-member, co-ed group uses their voices as instruments in a wide range of music genres -- rock, pop and R&B. Between 1986 and 2012, The Bostonians produced 12 albums and performed throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. They have sung at Boston Bruins hockey games and on MTV's "The Real World." The Bostonians also had an album nominated for Best Mixed Collegiate Album in the national Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA).

  • The Crosstones: Founded in 1996, The Crosstones is the oldest co-ed a cappella group at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. The group is known for their entertaining performances. The roster is 17 members deep, and the repertoire spans a number of musical genres, from old-school Motown to modern pop. In 2012, Varsity Vocals chose the Crosstones from hundreds of competing submissions for the Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) compilation album.

  • Harmonettes: This 12-member group from the University of Michigan is an all-female ensemble that describes itself as "sometimes sassy, always classy." Dating back to 1979, the Harmonettes are the first all-female a cappella group on campus. The group is known for covering a wide range of performers, including The Chordettes, Wham!, The Jackson Five and Fun. You can check it out in videos like Harmonetteflix and Harmageddon.

  • Ithacappella: Formerly the Ithaca College Men's Chorus, this 11-member, all-male a cappella group earned a spot on A Cappella Blog's list of 10 can't-miss groups for 2012, which were chosen for their noteworthy accomplishments, recognition and innovation. The group was included on the list not just for its "exceptional, high-octane live show," but also for its charitable contributions; for example, they lead community workshops and sings with elementary school students. The Ithacan reports that the group has joined with other local ensembles to support Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, which is devoted to making individuals feel more comfortable with their identity.

  • Naturally Sharp: This all-male, 11-member group hails from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech to the rest of us. According to their website, the Natty boys have been rocking the stage, serenading the ladies and raising the bar for on-stage entertainment since 2002, and they warn that their concerts are to be experienced, not just heard. The group's repertoire spans soulful hits as "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Kiss From a Rose" as well as quirky songs like "No Diggity" and "Fat Bottomed Girls." In performances like "One Thing" -- the group's first ever CD track -- on YouTube, the group manages to blend suavity and humor.

  • On The Rocks: Between 1999 and 2012, this all-male group from the University of Oregon has stacked up five studio-recorded albums as well as online videos. Among their YouTube offerings, "Subway Rick Roll" and their version of Lady Gaga's hit song, "Bad Romance," garnered millions of views. On The Rocks suggests that its viral success helped it win a spot on NBC's "The Sing-Off." The album A Fifth won the 2011 CARA honors for Favorite Collegiate Album, while the track "Sing a Song" was chosen for BOCA 2011.

  • Redefined: This co-ed group from the University of Wisconsin was founded in 2001, and within a year made the regional round of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, and also sold out the 1,300-seat Wisconsin Union Theater. The 16-member ensemble includes a vocal percussionist. The group does shows several times each year, and, as of 2012, has released several studio albums and performed on Dateline NBC. They describe the Nintendo Medley as one of their most notorious performances, which quickly went viral online.

  • Voices in Your Head: This University of Chicago group is unique in that it performs original pieces in addition to pop, R&B, rock and alternative music titles. The 19-member, co-ed group incorporates both undergraduate and graduate students, which is also unusual. The Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) chose the group's album, I Used to Live Alone, for the 2011 RARB Picks of the Year. The 2011 CARA prize in the category of Best Scholastic Original went to "Boomerang," and the 2012 CARA Best Mixed Arrangement award honored "I'd Like To."

  • YellowJackets: This seven-member, all-male a cappella group from the University of Rochester is known for their trademark bright yellow blazers and an appearance on NBC's "The Sing-Off." In 2012, the group released its 16th studio album, United We Sing, which was recorded entirely in Kenya. Inspired by their contact with a Kenyan primary school choir, the YellowJackets launched an after-school program -- also called United We Sing -- designed to cultivate a passion for a cappella in local schools. With a repertoire ranging from The Monkees to Taylor Swift, the group sings at benefits for the YMCA as well as groups fighting cancer and autism.

A not-so-quiet riot

A cappella, with its bare-bones vocal simplicity, is not a new musical fad -- barber shop quartets, anyone? Some big stars got their start in these ensembles, like actress Anne Hathaway. The old college glee clubs were little-known road warriors humming on buses as they traveled from school to school. Online videos and the Internet have changed the game, pushing vocal ensembles into the spotlight of popular culture. This recognition brings renewed inspiration, more groups and phenomenal new performances for us to discover.

Featured image courtesy of DZIDA MUSIC

Program

  • All
  • Communications
  • Corporate Communications
  • Digital Communications
  • Film Production & Editing
  • Graphic Communications
  • Journalism
  • Multimedia Communications
  • Music Production
  • Public Relations
  • Radio Production
  • Recording Arts
  • Television Production & Editing
  • Visual Communications
  • Visual Media Production

Degree/Diploma Offered

  • All
  • Associate
  • Bachelor
  • Master
  • Doctoral
  • Diploma
  • Certificate
  • Coursework

Location Type

  • Campus and Online
  • Campus
  • Online

Zip/Postal Code

Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.

Searching Searching ...

Prefer exploring options talking to our staff?
Call toll free now: 1.855.330.6938
Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef, Project Runway.
  • A team of about 4,000 faculty members are focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
  • Academic programs available in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
  • Program Coordinators work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
  • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Offering students a variety of online and ground courses in health, technology, and design since 1866.
  • Iselin campus was named “School of the Year” by National Association of Health Professionals (NAHP).
  • 41 campuses across the United States.
  • Partnered with Pegasus Lectures Inc. to deliver education resources in ultrasounds and sonography.
  • Offers Alumni Savings Connection, allowing graduates to receive special savings on a wide range of products and services.
  • All campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • General education classes are not required for graduation, allowing students to focus on core curriculum.
  • Instructs with a philosophy that centers on intensive, hands-on training as well as continual advancement in technology.
  • Graduates are employed in the audio and visual industry at CBS Radio, Disney, Universal Studios, and Clear Channel Communications.
  • Campus is located in Orlando, Florida
  • Faculty are required to stay active in their field as they teach, to ensure they know the latest trends.
  • Offers 2 focused degree programs: Film & Video Production and Audio Engineering & Music Production.
Show more [+]
4 Program(s) Found
Vatterott College , Saint Louis
  • Offers programs in  19 locations in 9 states, as well as online.
  • Ranks nationally in the top 15% of all schools providing military educational services.
  • Has provided career training to students since 1969.
  • Career services team helps students start their career with resume review, mock interviewing, campus career fairs, and more.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
4 Program(s) Found

When students arrive at The Los Angeles Film School, they have passion and a dream. They know where they want to end up, but not how to get there. We will guide you on your journey through our associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in Film, Recording Arts, Music Production, Animation & VFX, Game Production & Design and Entertainment Business toward fulfilling that dream.

  • Financial Aid
2 Program(s) Found
  • Its 2014 undergraduate enrollment is 2,71
  • 71.9% of students are male, 28.1% are female.
  • Most of it accelerated Associate Degree programs can be completed in as little as 18 months, and Bachelor’s of Science programs in as little as 3 years.
  • Offers Associate, Bachelors, Masters, and Online degree programs in nearly 40 technical and business management skills programs
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Admission is on a rolling basis, with programs starting each month.
  • Accepts Military Tuition Assistance (MTA) and will assist in getting required documents toan Educational Service Officer.
  • Lecture classes will have no more than 120 students. Lab settings will typically have 6, 9, 12 or 24 students to one lab instructor.
  • Career Development Department helps students edit resumes & research the job market. It also maintains an updated record of potential employers in the industry.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses