HomeThe Insider’s Perspective to A Capella at Harvard

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At an a capella concert during Harvard-Yale weekend last month, Harvard alumni took to the stage at Yale.

As per tradition, the Harvard Krokodiloes invited former members in attendance at the concert to perform the group’s alumni song, “Johnny O’ Connor.” About ten former Kroks, ranging from recent graduates to men in their late seventies, joined the current members on stage. Though decades had passed since the last performance of many of these singers, most of them remembered not only the lyrics but also the choreography.

The founding of the Krokodiloes out of the Hasty Pudding Social Club in 1946 marked the beginning of a capella at Harvard. In the last half century, a capella at the College has expanded to include many groups that comprise a growing but tight-knit musical community on campus.

The culture amongst Harvard’s most competitive groups can sometimes seem intense—from the “Hell Week” of auditions to daily half-days of practice prior to concerts to inter-group rivalries. Yet members like the alumni singers at the Krokodiloes concert possess a life-long loyalty to their ensembles. And singers say they love this avenue for participating in the school’s musical scene.

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