Tag Archives: Counterparts

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?

By: Carolyn Grace, C’16

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I’m finally back on the blog, Quakers!  And boy, does it feel good.

For those of you who don’t remember, I spent last semester studying abroad in Paris through Reid Hall, a joint program between Columbia and Penn.  I took classes in History, Cinema Studies, and French (le duh) at both this international school and at the Sorbonne.  But like all study abroad programs, my adventure in Paris was not only comprised of studying!

Living with a host family, getting lost in art museums, sipping cappuccinos in cafés, catching the last metro home after a long night out, sprawling out on the grass in a luscious garden, exploring boutiques on streets big and small, this was over half of my education abroad.  And these are just a handful of the activities I did in Paris alone!

If you’re interested in knowing more about my adventures, check out the blog I kept last semester: For the Love of Paris.  You’ll find photos, videos, songs, and most importantly musings of my time in Europe.

But that semester has come and gone, and I admit that for all the fun I had overseas, I am incredibly happy to be back on Penn’s campus.  I missed my friends, my classes, and my activities.  I missed being a part of a thriving campus culture that, although stressful at times, encouraged me to be proactive.

So I’m back in the swing of things, but with a bit more gusto than last year!  I’m singing with Counterparts and sitting on the board as Alumni Relations Officer, I’m helping run Sigma Kappa as Vice President, I’m writing for 34th Street and Penn Appétit, and I’m beginning to conduct research for my Senior Honors Thesis for my History major.

Don’t worry, there will be future blog posts where I’ll delve deeper into these topics!  Just know for now that I’ve hit the ground running this second semester of my junior year, and I’m glad to have that academic cardio in my life again.

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I’ll Be Seeing You

Author: Carolyn Grace, C’16

Hit play and start reading!

It’s been a week of “lasts” here at dear old Penn – yesterday was my last chapter meeting with Sigma Kappa, today was my last day of classes, and Friday will be my last rehearsal with Counterparts.  Normally, I’d be excited for the closing of yet another school year.  Summer’s just around the corner, and I’ll get to spend it with so many of my friends who are choosing to stay in Philly!  But for one reason or another, I don’t feel that excited.  At least not right now.

Maybe it’s the rain (sorry, I mean MONSOON) outside.  Maybe it’s the looming papers and final exams that I have in the next couple weeks.  Or maybe it’s the realization that I’ll be boarding a plane next semester instead of driving 45 minutes to move back on campus.  Whatever it is, I’m sad to be nearing the end of my sophomore year.  It was hard getting back into the swing of things when I returned to campus this past August, and it by no means got any easier.  But in spite of all that, I can say with confidence that it was better than my freshman year.  I was presented with new and exciting opportunities, and more importantly I met new and exciting people, people who I am honored to call close friends.

I found this picture in my room earlier this afternoon:

It’s the first picture of me from this academic year, the first day of NSO to be exact.  I definitely had no idea what the year was going to be like, but that didn’t stop me from goofing off with my friends!  That seems to be the best way for me to combat the anxiety of not knowing, acting silly.  Hopefully, I can keep a similar lightheartedness as I enter my semester abroad next year.

I wonder what my last picture from sophomore year will look like.  I guess I don’t really need to know right now.  There’s fun in not knowing.

Until next year, dear Quakers.  I’ll be seeing you.  Thanks for reading 🙂

 

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Do You Want to See My Show, Man?

Author: Carolyn Grace, C’16

Tapping into my inner Pitbull while rapping  "Timber" with the Mask and Wig band!

Tapping into my inner Pitbull while rapping “Timber” with the Mask and Wig band!

Well, Fling has finally been flung, dear Quakers, and oh what a wonderful weekend it was! As planned, I danced to David Guetta, sang/rapped on stage with both Counterparts and Mask and Wig, and ate my weight in fried oreos. All in all, a successful few days 🙂

But my performances are not over!  Oh no, my biggest show of the semester is coming up this weekend: the Counterparts Spring show!  If you’ve clicked on the link, then you’ve just discovered that our show title “Do You Wanna Build a Show, Man?” is, in fact, “Frozen”-themed.  Because “Frozen” will always be relevant.  Always.

I have to say, the publicity we’ve done for this show is pretty awesome.  We have a great series of posters (see below), and we just released a promotional YouTube video as well.  However, if you haven’t seen “Frozen”… well I don’t know what to tell you.  None of these references will make sense.  So I suggest you watch the movie before coming to the show.

Our poster for "Do You Wanna Build a Show, Man?"

Our poster for “Do You Wanna Build a Show, Man?”

My Facebook profile picture to promote the show!  I know, it's pretty adorable.

My Facebook profile picture to promote the show! I know, it’s pretty adorable.

We’re back in Iron Gate Theatre, where I sang in my first-ever CP concert.  It’s a beautiful space, and I can’t wait to see it packed with my friends, family, and Counterparts alumni!  Our set list is also stellar.  I’ll be singing “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” with one of our new members, Andrew.  In addition, we have songs by the Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Sara Bareilles, Ariana Grande, Hall and Oates, and Delta Rae…just to name several.

Like the many other student artists on campus, I am always in a bit of shock when I enter the week leading up to my show.  It’s crazy to think about how much work I’ve put into the semester for Counterparts, and it’s going to be culminating into only two performances this weekend!  It’s times like these that I try to truly appreciate the level of talent and dedication to the arts that exists here at Penn.  Though I cannot go to every show that happens on campus, I will always applaud the effort that goes into any and every performance.

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Flung, Wild, and Free

Author:  Carolyn Grace, C’16

Spring has finally sprung on campus, dear Quakers, and just in time for Penn’s greatest weekend ever: it’s time for FLIIIIING!

Goofing around in the Fling photo booth :)

Fling 2013: goofing around in the photo booth 🙂

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or you just happen to be reading this blog post and you don’t go to Penn, Spring Fling is the biggest (and best!) college festival on the East Cost, in existence for now over 40 years.   The festival actually has a pretty rich history and is certainly one of Penn’s biggest traditions.  Without a doubt, it’s the favorite tradition among students!

The theme for this year’s Fling is the oh-so groovy  ❀☮ PEACE LOVE AND FLING ❀☮  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super excited.  SPEC has a great line-up for the big concert on Friday: Magic Man, Ra Ra Riot, and headliner David Guetta!  I wasn’t familiar with the first two artists when SPEC first announced them, but after to listening to them on Spotify I am so stoked to see them perform live.  Here are a couple favorites of mine from Magic Man and Ra Ra Riot, both of which I hope are played at the concert!

“Paris” by Magic Man

“Beta Love” by Ra Ra Riot

Lilly and I before CP takes the stage!

Lilly and I before CP takes the stage!

As great as the big concert is going to be, I have to admit that I’m looking forward to the Quad concerts the most!  It’s the chance to see my friends in other performing arts groups rock the stage in front of the entire student body.  I’m especially excited to watch Bloomers Band, Penn Glee Club Band, and Penny Loafers a cappella (good luck guys!).  Counterparts will also be singing in prep for our Spring show…but that’s for another blog post 😉

The final performance, however, is going to bring the walls of the Quad down.  Some lovely ladies of Counterparts (Sam, Swaroop, Lilly) and I will each be singing with the Mask and Wig band!  Their performance is the final one of the entire Fling weekend, and it always draws a huge crowd.  I can’t wait to be up on stage with them, mostly because my performance is going to be something I’ve never done before.  I’ll be singing the song Timber by Ke$ha and Pitbull.  Well, actually, I’ll be rapping it.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m going to be rapping Pitbull’s part of Timber.  And I literally cannot wait.

A crowd shot from the Mask and Wig stage.  I'll be up there in almost a week!

A crowd shot from the Mask and Wig stage. I’ll be up there in almost a week!

So grab your fanny packs, don your neon tanks, and make room for the fried oreoes, dear Quakers.  The countdown to Spring Fling begins NOW!

 

 

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Road to ICCAs

Author:  Carolyn Grace, C’16

CP in the DP!

CP in the DP!

Finally, I can say that I’ve made it above the fold!  In case you missed yesterday’s copy of the DP, Counterparts made the front page for our stellar performance at ICCAs this past weekend at Drexel.  Of the 50 groups competing in the Mid-Atlantic Division, we are one of 10 that will move on to semifinals.  They will take place at Rutgers later this March, which gives me more than enough time to watch “Pitch Perfect.” 🙂

Aw, thanks John!

Aw, thanks John!

We performed three songs from our Fall show – “Big White Room,” “Lady is a Tramp,” and “Creep.”  Lilly, a fellow CP sophomore with me, added in simple yet effective choreography for each song as well.  Overall, it took us a little over a week to fully prepare and refine our set list.  Nina, our Music Director, Swaroop, our President, and Lilly did an incredible job with getting us to performance level!  It’s no wonder that, in addition to advancing to semifinals, we won both Best Choreography and Best Soloist Performance.  If only John Legend could see us now…

I am so proud of CP.  This is the first time I have ever “competed” in something relating to music, and I won’t deny that it does feel different.  I admit that I find much more satisfaction in performing for people I know.  However, to have external recognition of what I myself have known along – that Counterparts is an extremely talented group – is certainly gratifying.  We’re a musical force to be reckoned with, and I know we will show that in the next round.  The road to ICCAs has just begun!

Nina, Swaroop, and Lilly holding our awards for Semifinalists, Best Soloist, and Best Choreography

Nina, Swaroop, and Lilly holding our awards for Semifinalists, Best Soloist, and Best Choreography

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From Teen to Twenty Something

Author:  Carolyn Grace, C’16

WELCOME BACK, MY DARLING PENN QUAKERS!

Yes, second semester is finally upon us, and I am still on my winter break sleep schedule.  But I’ve missed dear old Penn, and I am thrilled to be back in the bustling atmosphere of classes, activities, and friends.  More importantly, I can now satisfy my strange craving for Houston Hall’s sushi.

Things certainly are busy for only the second day of school.  Rush has officially begun for Sigma Kappa as well as the other Panhellenic sororities.  I’m already exhausted from yesterday’s Open House, but I am even more excited to get a brand new pledge class in SK!

Counterparts is already in the midst of selecting our Spring semester repertoire, and we will soon begin rehearsals for our February performance in the ICCAs!  For those of you who have seen Pitch Perfect (unlike me!), you understand that this is a pretty cool event.  I don’t know much about it, but I’m always ready to be back on stage singing with CP.  More details to come!

The ICCA performance in Pitch Perfect.  AKA my study guide!

The ICCA performance in Pitch Perfect. AKA my study guide!

For today, however, what I’m most excited for has nothing to do with sorority life or a cappella.  Today’s post, in addition to being my first one of the new semester, is the last post I will be writing as a teenager.  At exactly 12:17 AM tomorrow morning, I will be 20 years old!  I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’m about to become a “twenty something.”  I’ve seen the numerous BuzzFeed posts about this particular age group, all of them hilarious albeit slightly concerning.  Technically, I am a young adult.  So, how much of my life actually needs to be put together?  Quite frankly, I’ve always felt the label “teenager” was like a “get out of jail free” card for behavior.  Neurotic, eccentric, angsty, or overly emotional?  Hey, blame it on puberty and hormones!  I’m hoping I still have some of that leeway when I turn 20.

So, you can bet that I’ll be celebrating tomorrow, and you should too!  Well, maybe not celebrating my birthday specifically (though I’d certainly appreciate it 🙂 ), but rather celebrating a new year, new semester, and the new opportunities that come with it all.  Good luck this Spring, Quakers!

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A Year in Review at the Red and the Blue

Author:  Carolyn Grace, C’16

Play this and start reading:

Happy New Year, Quakers!  I hope you all celebrated accordingly 🙂

Since we’re only into the second day of 2014, I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to look back on the many fond memories I had in good ol’ 2013.  However, this is, after all, a Penn blog.   That’s why I’m using this post for My Top 12 Penn Moments of 2013, one for each month.  Enjoy, and try to think of your Top 12 Penn Moments as well!

12. JANUARY

I get invited to become a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority!  I celebrated my acceptance with my new sisters all through the night, right into my 19th birthday the next morning.  Talk about a great birthday present!

I finally meet my Big!

I finally meet my Big!

11. FEBRUARY

Big-Little Week for Sigma Kappa!  (For those who are unfamiliar with the term “Big-Little Week,” click here for more info.)  After a FULL WEEK of anonymously-sent baked goods, gifts, and guys, I discover who my wonderful Big is:  Tara!

10. MARCH

Spring Break has arrived at Penn, and what better way to spend it than with my fellow Quakers!  I take a weekend trip to Tenafly, NJ with my good friends Charlotte and Gabby, both of whom I met through the freshman seminar “Katharine Hepburn Films.”  I also travel to New York City with a few members of Counterparts:  Lilly, Scott, and Nina.

9.  APRIL

Enjoying Fling with some SK girls and Mask & Wig guys!

CP about to take the stage

Ok, so I’m cheating a little bit here.  I have two big moments from April 2013.  The first, of course, is Spring Fling.  I mean, how can I leave that out?  It’s the largest collegiate carnival on the eastern seaboard!  Not to mention, it was my first one.  The second moment:  Time to Shine, of course.  Counterparts was one of the many student groups to perform before the Train and John Legend concert.  What was even cooler was that we were the first group to sing on the same stage as these artists!

8.  MAY

My freshman year at Penn finally comes to a close, but not before I start recording for the new CP album!  In the midst of studying for final exams, we all come in at various times to record various songs from first and second semester.

7.  JUNE

A beautiful day to see the Arc de Triomphe

A beautiful day to see the Arc de Triomphe

Bonjour de la France!  Already having departed in late May,  I am entering my  third week in Tours, France with the Penn-in-Tours summer abroad program.  For six weeks, I study a year’s worth of French at the Université François-Rabelais with about 30 other Penn students.  We all live with host families and go on weekend trips around the Loire Valley, visiting castles, exploring museums, and tasting wine!  After mid-terms, we are given a three-day weekend to travel anywhere in France.  I, along with my friends Rachel, Emily, Fola, and Faith, decide to spend those days roaming the magnificent city of Paris.

6.  JULY

A summer is not complete without a trip to the beach.  In addition to my family’s annual vacation in Strathmere, NJ, I spend a weekend in Wildwood with my good friend, Alexa.  She’s one of the first friends I made at Penn!

5.  AUGUST

BACK. TO. SCHOOL.  After another summer of not tanning at all, I am ready for Sophomore year to begin!  Before NSO even starts, however, I kick off the new school year as a student leader for the PennArts pre-orientation program.  I participated in PennArts as a freshman, and it’s just as fun to experience it again as a leader.  The 50-60 of us explore all the arts that both the Penn and Philadelphia communities have to offer.

The PennArts leaders are ready to welcome the freshmen!

4.  SEPTEMBER

CP welcomes its newest members: David, Emily, Michael, and Andrew!

3.  OCTOBER

Date Night?  More like Neuro Night!  A Wharton junior in SK has partnered with the drink company, Neuro, for a class project. As a thank-you for all of her hard work, Neuro brings in manicurists and hair stylists to the SK house to help the girls get ready for our Date Night downtown!

Sarah, Virginia, and I try some Neuro while we wait to get our hair done

Sarah, Virginia, and I try some Neuro while we wait to get our hair done

2.  NOVEMBER

After weeks and weeks of rehearsal, Counterparts performs its Fall show, “Private ‘Parts.”  I sing a jazz song by Melody Gardot called “Baby, I’m a Fool.”

1.  DECEMBER

I am invited to sing at the Mask & Wig Club’s annual Charity Ball!  The band held auditions earlier in the Fall, and several girls (a bunch of them in CP!) were selected to perform.  The guys were extremely fun to rehearse with, and the songs were so much fun!  Of the three events I sang for, Charity Ball was definitely my favorite.  Everyone dresses up in gowns and tuxedos for a night of great food, dancing, and music.  What a classy way to close out the year!

Me and my date, Luke

Me and my date, Luke

And there you have it, 2013 through the eyes of a Penn Quaker.  I hope 2014 brings just as many great moments like these, maybe even more!  Enjoy the new year, Quakers 🙂

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Two Weeks

Author: Carolyn Grace, C’16

It’s a shame that my job has me blogging only twice a month.  A lot can happen in two weeks, especially when you’re a Penn student.  These past several days were particularly buzzing with activity, so I’ve decided to make this post a re-cap of what I’ve done since my last post.  Enjoy!

October 22nd – 25th: Going GrΣΣk

This year's Greek Week logo

This year’s Greek Week t-shirt logo

As a Junior Delegate on the Panhellenic Council, I helped organize this fall’s Greek Week.  Panhel, IFC (Interfraternity Council), and MGC (Multicultural Greek Council) sponsor a week of academic, social, and philanthropic events for the Penn Greek community each semester.  This year, we hosted a Penn Faculty Speaker Series, an Academic Bowl trivia game, a dodgeball tournament, and a Meet the Greeks BBQ.  The events were really fun, and they did a great job of bringing together the various frats and sororities on campus!

October 27th: Running for the Cure

After 13 years of playing purely water sports, I decided to run my first ever 5k: the Rena Rowan Ribbon Run.  The final Greek Week event, the Ribbon run benefits the Rena Rowan Breast Center at Penn’s very own Abramson Cancer Center. The Rowan Center provides all clinical services a woman facing breast cancer may need; including integrated cancer treatments, psychosocial counseling, cancer risk evaluation, and nutritional counseling.

SK at Rena Rowan!

SK at Rena Rowan!

I ran in honor of my Mom, whose strength and knowledge of her diagnosis brought her to theAbramson Cancer and Rena Rowan Breast centers.  Some fellow Sigma Kappa sisters joined me, and our team ended up doing extremely well!  We placed 1st, 2nd, and 4th overall in the Women’s division, and we won Best Sorority Participation!

November 1st – 2nd: Private ‘Parts

Our fall show poster

Our fall show poster

After almost 6 weeks of rehearsing, Counterparts finally performed our fall semester show “Private ‘Parts”! Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the show title was dectective themed.  Just look at the poster!   In all seriousness, though, the show was fantastic.  I sang a jazz number called “Baby I’m a Fool” by Melody Gardot.  It’s been my favorite CP solo so far!  My family came to see us perform, as did a lot of my friends and alumni of the group.  After the show, past and present CP members went to City Tap House for dinner to celebrate another successful show.  Videos of our performances will be up on our YouTube channel within the next couple weeks, so stay tuned!

Counterparts, before the start of our fall show!

Counterparts, before the start of our fall show!

November 3rd: Handle With Care

The album cover for Handle With Care

The album cover for Handle With Care

Counterparts’s newest CD, “Handle With Care,” is officially available!  We recored the CD last spring, and since then our Music Director and President were working with the studio to mix and master each track.  And the results are incredible!  One of my solos from last year, “Your Heart Is As Black As Night,” is featured on the album.  I’m so excited to listen to it, and I’m so proud of CP.  Our hard work really paid off!  We sold a lot of copies this past weekend at our show, but we have also made it available for download online.  Take a listen, and buy it today 🙂

November 5th:  QUIZZO

This year's logo for SK Quizzo

This year’s logo for SK Quizzo

SK is kicking it into gear with preparing for Quizzo.  There are now 10 days left until the event, and we still have so much to do!  We’ve been actively recruiting teams across campus (Right now, I’m working on registering both a Counterparts and a Mask & Wig team) as well as collecting donations, creating flyers, and ordering shirts for the event.  The prizes look awesome: free spring break trips, free overnight stays at hotels in Atlantic City, pro athletic gear, Tory Burch bags, club box tickets to 76ers games, and gift cards upon gift cards.  I wish I could play!

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You, Me, and CP

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!

My first official night as a member of Counterparts!

My first official night as 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!

Our newbs Andrew, Emily, Michael, and David.  Welcome to CP!

Our newbs (left to right) Andrew, Emily, Michael, and David. Welcome to CP!

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.

CP performs its first Fall 2013 gig at the Penn Reunion Leadership Conference

CP performs its first Fall 2013 gig at the Penn Reunion Leadership Conference

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!

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