Choral Contest Honors Tradition Pushes Boundaries

Autumn McCartan

The Whitman College Choral Contest has been a time honored tradition. Beginning in 1925, the Choral Contest has been a highlight of the Whitman experience. Fraternities, sororities, men’s and women’s independent choirs compete for charity. The categories are Best Male Group, Best Female Group, and Best Interlude Performance awarded to the campus’ A capella groups. This year it will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 24 in Cordiner Hall.

In 2008 the Sirens of Swank, the all female A capella group, preformed “SHU-BE-DOO-SHOOP-SH-BOOM: A 50’s Medley.” The all-male A capella group, The Testostertones, sang a Paul Simon medley from the film Top Gun. Schwa, the co-ed group, sang “ð-cappella.”  

The Environmental Choir sang “Big Yellow Taxi,” and the Jonas Family Singers sang, “Registrar: A Medley.”

Each group is required to sing a classical and modern piece. Last year, The Independent men sang, “Kiss The Girl” and “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat” while the Independent women sang, “Over the Rainbow” and “Dancing in the Street.”  

Kappa Kappa Gamma performed “Rise Up, My Love” for the classical piece and “Friendship and Love Medley.” Kappa Alpha Theta sang “Children of Dannu” and “Tico Tico.” Delta Gamma preformed “Chatanooga ChooChoo” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” This year, senior Ellen Kutscher is directing the women of Delta Gamma.

 “I think the biggest thing is we want it to be really fun for all the girls,” said Kutscher. “We pride ourselves most in keeping it really fun and making sure everyone really has fun throughout the whole process, rehearsals and everything .”

Phi Delta Theta sang “Shosholoza” for their classical piece and a Boys II Men medley for their contemporary one. Sigma Chi preformed “Carry On My Wayward Son” originally by Kansas for their contemporary piece and “Show Me the Way to Go Home,” a traditional sea shanty for their classical work. Beta Theta Pi sang “Wooglin Forever” and “The Final Countdown.”

However, Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) does something a little different than the other groups. In 2007, 2008 and again this year TKE Kyle Cotler decided to write his own piece for his fraternity to perform. More of a skit than a choral song, Cotler’s pieces have been performed the past two years, even while running the risk of disqualification.

“I never liked how boring, stale and antiquated the contest was,” said Cotler. “So I decided to write my own piece that could be more fun for us to perform and more fun for the audience to watch.”  

Last year, the TKEs preformed East Side Story, a spoof on West Side Story with two men as the star-crossed lovers. Excited about Friday’s performance, Cotler is expecting this year’s piece to be “stimulating, evocative and provocative” and the “best one yet.”