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On the Right Note

On the Right NoteTufts' oldest coed a cappella group heads into an exciting year as the ensemble celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [10.26.09] With the fall semester not yet behind them, it has already been a landmark year for the Tufts Amalgamates, the university's oldest coed a cappella group. The group celebrated its 25th anniversary on Homecoming weekend, Oct. 9-11, and just a few weeks before had the honor of singing the national anthem in front of thousands of Red Sox fans at Fenway Park on Sept. 15.

At Homecoming weekend, 150 past members of the 'Mates were in attendance. "It's funny that this weird little tradition that goes on at college campuses across the country and can be as small as just a group of friends singing in a stairwell, is infused with such spirit from alumni and all the people who have passed through here," says Jason Edes (A'10), president of the group.

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Tufts Amalgamates warm up at Boston's Fenway Park.
 

Founded in 1984, the 'Mates have performed all over the United States and beyond, including Disney World, Rockefeller Center in New York City and venues in Las Vegas, London and Dusseldorf, Germany. Along the way, they have collected a number of awards from the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America, including Best Song, Best Soloist and Best Mixed Collegiate Album.

"Traveling abroad and doing a cappella is always a wonderful experience, especially in Europe, because a lot of people have never seen it done before," says Edes. "We went to one school and were completely mobbed by a bunch of middle schoolers begging for autographs, which is one of the most surreal things I have experienced."

As the group continues to evolve, with new members coming on each year, the members all agree that while faces may change, the group continues to hold on to what they like to call its "'Mate-ness."

"We take the music seriously, but we don't take ourselves seriously," says Hunter Vanaria (A'11), one of the group's newer members. "The most important thing is to enjoy the group, because there is just a wonderful sense of community and family."

Vanaria adds, "I remember when I got in the group I had about 15 emails from people I didn't know, all alums congratulating me on getting in the group and telling me what a great experience it was going to be. It was a great beginning."

So what does it feel like to be a 'Mate as the group hits its 25th anniversary?

"There is a wonderful sense of being a part of something bigger and something truly worthwhile," says Edes. "It is that sense of connection that makes it special."

Story by Kaitlin Provencher, Web Communications
Photos by Joanie Tobin, University Photography

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