If you’re anything like me, you could name exactly one a cappella group before coming to college (that group being Pitch Perfect’s Barden Bellas). Upon arriving at Boston College, I realized there seemed to be music groups everywhere, from bands to liturgical assemblies. While BC’s a cappella groups may seem similar at first sight, beneath the surface they are a diverse assortment with varying perspectives, missions, and repertoires.
First up: the Bostonians. Established in 1986, the Bostonians are the original a cappella group at BC. They celebrated their 35th anniversary last year, featuring a reunion concert with alumni dating back to their founding. Etinnah Garcia, MCAS ‘23, described the Bostonians’ style as “a variety of genres, spanning from Indie, R&B/Soul, to Pop.” She also described their creative process as being “centered around the individual, as we value each of their voices.” The Bostonians have released several albums throughout their decades-long run at BC, including Niceties in 2014 and Dropping a Hat in 2019.
The Dynamics were founded in 1998 and are also a co-ed group. They are currently BC’s only competitors in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs) and the first group on campus to do live mixing at their shows. Julia McCahill, CSOM ‘24, described her best memory with the Dynamics as their competition at the ICCAs last February: “Feeling the energy and adrenaline radiating off of each other, & the audience was indescribable.” The Dynamics have released two music videos to date for their songs “This Christmas'' and “Golden.”
The Sharps, founded in 1990, were and continue to be BC’s only all-female a cappella group. They perform genres that represent the women of the group, which include “pop, indie, rock, [and recently] R&B” according to their Music Director, Sophia Summers, MCAS ‘23. Nary Oo, CSOM ‘25, described her favorite memory with the Sharps as their trip to a cabin in New Hampshire where they all wrote affirmations to one another: “It was a beautiful reminder that I was surrounded by empowering women who cared so much about me.”
Next up are the Common Tones. They were established in 2015, making them the newest a cappella organization on campus. The Common Tones are BC’s only service-oriented a cappella group, as service is the most important part of their mission. John Ross, Music Director and Vice President, LSOE 23, wrote that “The main goal of Tones is to serve communities in Greater Boston using a cappella as a medium to make connections with these groups.” They volunteer at numerous sites in and around Boston and perform at BC-sponsored events, singing anything from Amy Winehouse to Lizzo.
The Acoustics are a co-ed group founded in 1993 and the winners of the 2022 ArtsFest A Cappella Showcase. They pride themselves on performing the widest variety of music on campus, “wailing away on 70s rock, 80s pop, 90s jams, and millennial miscellany,” according to their website. The Acoustics brand is eccentricity and diversity, aiming to have fun and celebrate their collective passion for music. They’ve released nine studio albums to date, most recently being 2020’s On Acoustics Time.
B.E.A.T.S. (Black Experience in America Through Song) is not only an a cappella group, but also an activist organization. They perform soul and R&B music on campus and in the greater Boston area. Along with their passion for music and performing, members of BEATS aim to spotlight and advocate for the experiences of Black Americans throughout the country and on BC’s campus. Hannah Choi, LSOE ‘25, the group’s Music Director, explained that an important part of their creative process is arranging the group’s songs, which their members do in-house.
The Heightsmen, also founded in 1990, is BC’s only all-male a cappella group. Heightsmen president, Jack Leary, MCAS ‘23, highlighted its emphasis on brotherhood and bonding between members both during and outside of rehearsals. They often collaborate with other on campus groups including the Dynamics, DOBC, and Best Buddies. Jack said The Heightsmen “probably sings more oldies than most groups,” which is a part of their well-rounded setlist made up largely of pop, R&B, and even country.
Overall, BC’s a cappella groups are not only entertaining, but also an extremely diverse assortment of people, relationships, and goals. Nonetheless, they all have a passion for song along with exemplifying BC’s strong culture of service and community engagement.