The Collegian
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Octaves' Spring Fever draws unusually small attendance

The Octaves’ encore song, Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani, captured the feel of their annual Spring Fever concert Saturday – fun and well executed.

The concert, however, was not crowded. Last year, Spring Fever nearly sold out and members of the group said they had been anticipating a similar turn out. Instead, The Octaves sang Saturday’s concert to a half-full audience filled with mostly relatives and close friends.

The concert, themed “Untitled,” included a mixture of both old and new songs, such as “It Was Always You,” “MLK” and “Blame it On the Night.” A cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” had the audience singing and dancing along as the all-male group encouraged the audience to participate.

During the concert, the seniors in The Octaves were recognized and applauded for their talent and dedication to the tight-knit group. The three seniors followed with a cover of “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, and sang to their fellow Octaves using Stevie Nicks’ lyrics to sum up their time together.

The group also performed its 12-minute mash-up of songs, complete with choreography, which they sang at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella last month. This was The Octaves' first year performing at the championship, and although they did not win, gaining the experience of performing in such a pressure-filled atmosphere set this year apart from others for The Octaves, president Conor Lemmon said.

Practices were intense but also enjoyable because the group is so close, Lemmon said. Freshman Duncan Trawick also commented on the long practices leading up to the concert, noting the importance of balancing work and play.

“We are close enough as a group that even when we have rehearsals leading up to the show that are several hours long, we manage to keep a healthy balance between work and play,” Trawick said. “We know that the final result will be well worth the effort.”

Before the concert, Trawick said he had expected Spring Fever to be an absolute blast. Because The Octaves had put in so much time on their end, it should definitely translate into a fun time for the audience, he said.

Victoria Provost, Chord du Roi member who sang at the concert, said The Octaves were amazing. People expected them to be great since they’re the only all-male a cappella group on campus, and they have always delivered, she said.

When preparing for the concert, The ‘Taves focused on finding the right blend of old and new repertoire to have a solid set list that would deliver music that fit the energy they wanted for the show, Trawick said.

“It was hard getting a bunch of grown men to be disciplined and listen to each other,” sophomore Joshua Young said. “In the end though, we know we perform a lot better when we’re focused than when we’re not.”

The group learned new music, perfected their mechanics and refined the entire performance to make it as good as possible, Young said. He said they had had to ask themselves how they would perform the songs in a way that would engage their audience, as their Spring Fever concert is the biggest part of their year.

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The group also asked alumni to join them on stage to perform the song “Shenandoah,” bringing the entire community of past and present Octaves together.

Songs like “Shenandoah” are important to the group because they allow The Octaves to show off their vocal skills while respecting the brotherhood aspect of the group, Young said.

“We perform fun songs and those are great because you get to live in the excitement,” he said. “Some songs, though, are so beautiful and compelling you need to just focus on the music.”

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