By Patrick Lovett
As a chorus of voices that are singular yet in harmony, unique and still complimentary, A cappella at Providence College almost epitomizes the Friar Family—that bond encompassing the campus and the alumni beyond it.
This past Saturday, PC’s A cappella Club celebrated its 20th anniversary during Alumni & Family Weekend. All three of the College’s A cappella groups—Special Guest, Anaclastic, and Strictly Speaking—performed at the Rhode Island Convention Center to celebrate the occasion, joined by alumni that were enthusiastic to both watch and participate.
Numerous alumni, across a broad range of graduation years, were welcomed to perform with their former groups. With just a few hours of practice that morning, they not only learned several songs, but some also took solos. The groups performed both classic and modern hits, such as “Stand by Me” and “Uptown Funk,” and through them connected an entire venue of Friars past and present.
Ralph Tavares ’01, the current assistant dean of undergraduate studies and a former member of Special Guest, worked on inviting former A cappella members. When asked if many alumni were interested in coming back, Tavares said, “Everybody was crazy about it.” He said the group chat he created “spiraled out of control” and created “social media frenzy.” Tavares attributes this raving reaction to the strong communal spirit in the A cappella groups.
Since its founding, PC’s A cappella Club has frequently welcomed alumni to perform alongside current members. According to Matthew Maurano ’06, former member of Special Guest, coming back to perform has become a kind of tradition. “Alumni Weekend was always something to look forward to,” said Maurano, “Alumni would always come back and sing…it was always a lot of fun.”
Due to the tradition, members in A cappella groups have had the opportunity to meet and bond with alumni across a range of ages. “[Tavares] didn’t even go here when I did, he graduated before I was a freshman,” said Maurano, “But I still got to meet and know him through A cappella.”
For current Anaclastic member Colleen L’Etoile ’17, meeting former members was a promising glimpse into the future. “To see all these past members come back, people with jobs and families, it was just nice to see they still have that passion for A cappella,” said L’Etoile, “I hope I have that.”
After graduating, there are plenty of reasons to visit PC. Alumni come back for good company, to reminisce on old times, and even to share about their experience beyond campus walls. Members of the A cappella Club come back for all these reasons and more; back at PC, they can share their passion with a number of others, and perhaps pretend they never left.