Author: Carolyn Grace, C’16
Music is my passion. I can’t think of any other way to describe the one thing that gets me going each and every day. I have been singing since I was 8 years old. Choirs, a cappella groups, musicals, high school cabaret shows, you name it. Within my first few days as a freshman at Penn, I knew that what I wanted more than anything was to be able to keep singing. I left the Annenberg Center after Freshman Performing Arts Night with one goal on my mind: I had to be in an a cappella group.
A cappella at Penn is awesome! The groups here are incredibly talented and their styles so unique. In addition to singing pop, each group performs a specific genre, be it indie, rock, jazz, anything. With so much breadth in the music community, it was overwhelming as a freshman to decide which groups I wanted to try out for. After a week- long audition process, I received a knock on my door late one night. I opened my door and was greeted by 15 people singing and cheering for me. From that moment on, I have been a member of Counterparts!
Founded in 1981, Counterparts specializes in both jazz and pop music. We sing anything from traditional jazz standards to songs you hear on the radio right now. Fun fact: R&B singer-songwriter John Legend was President and Music Director of Counterparts while he was a student at Penn! Therefore, we are famous by association 🙂
Each semester, CP (our nickname for Counterparts) performs a concert of 13 to 15 songs that we arrange ourselves. Sometimes we perform around campus or in downtown Philadelphia as well. In addition, we record a CD every other year, the most recent of which will be out within the next month. Having such a wide range of repertoire is so beneficial because it really allows our group to expand in different directions. Plus, I love jazz!
I have to admit, however, that I love the people in CP even more. They are all-around talented musicians. But they are also a hilarious, quirky, and welcoming bunch of individuals, all of whom I can honestly call friends. Our rehearsals on Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons are the highlight of my week, and already we have a great semester planned since arriving back at Penn. We accepted 4 AMAZING new members, we’re putting the finishing touches on our newest CD (which I’m featured on as a soloist!), and we’re currently preparing for our Fall semester show on November 1st and 2nd.
Call me crazy, but that Geico camel and I are on the same page. I love Wednesdays, and for good reason. Once 8:00 PM rolls around, I’m going to make my way over to Williams Hall and head straight for the U-Lounge. For the next 2 to 3 hours, I’ll be singing ridiculous words like “din-doh” and “jen-joh,” and I’ll be loving every minute of it!