Love songs and tales in a cappella

This weekend, Oakland University’s first and only co-ed a cappella group is holding a Valentine’s Day concert, which they say will both celebrate the holiday and criticize it.

Following the Valentine’s Day theme of the concert, co-founder Elyse Foster said the group will sing popular love songs, with a few “anti-love songs” thrown in as well. In between songs, the members plan to tell stories about their own romantic experiences.

“We’ll be telling stories between the songs about our own experiences: good first dates, bad first dates, good relationships, bad relationships,” Foster said.

Co-founder Elizabeth Lordon adds that the songs and stories are about both the ups and downs of love.

“Our anecdotes will be about the trials and tribulations of love,” Lordon said.

Additionally, a Michigan State University a cappella group called Rcahpella will be opening.

Gold Vibrations, which now has 18 members, was formed when Foster and Elizabeth Lordon teamed up with two of their friends from high school in 2009. The four were reunited at OU after Foster and Lordon transferred from Michigan State University and Kalamazoo College, respectively.

“We all liked to sing together and there was no other a cappella group on campus,” Foster said. “People don’t realize how big the collegiate a cappella world really is at other schools like MSU and U-M. We wanted to start it up here because it’s something we love to do.”

Although the members are passionate about singing, there is no requirement for students to be music majors in order to join. The group holds auditions for any interested students at the beginning of the fall semester and then if needed at the start of the winter semester as well.

Since forming in 2009, the group has performed at OU twice, as well as at a benefit concert for Haiti at MSU, as an opening act at another show at MSU and as carolers at the Lagniappe in downtown Rochester.

The show this weekend, which takes place in the Varner Recital Hall, will be the group’s largest show thus far.

“It’s our biggest venue we’ve performed in, so we’re really hoping to get as many people as we can,” Foster said.

Lordon and Foster were both quick to point out the music they sing is unlike the typical music sung by many college vocal groups.

“We sing popular songs that you’d hear on the radio,” Foster said. “We have some oldies in there too, but for the most part it’s current popular songs.”

The group is not revealing their entire set list prior to Friday’s performance, however, they did say that they have two songs by singer Bruno Mars as well as other contemporary hits.

“It’s definitely not choral music,” Lordon said. “It’s not as nerdy as a lot of people think. We have a lot of fun and if you come to the concert, even as an audience member, you have a lot of fun. If you haven’t experienced a cappella music, you should. We’re a hidden gem.”

Foster agrees that although some members were in choir in high school, this is a completely different experience.

“We’re just a fun group of people who love to sing,” Foster said. “It’s nothing like what you knew of choir in high school. We just like to get together and have fun, sing, dance and be goofy.”

The Gold Vibrations Valentine’s Day concert is this February 18 at 7 p.m. in the Varner Recital Hall. The event is free and open to all students.

“Even if you just have a little interest, come check us out,” Foster said. “It’s not something you’ll experience anywhere else on campus.”