Harvard Din & Tonics
The group was founded in 1979 as a public service project of the Phillips Brooks House Association at Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, performing for the university community and local charitable organizations. Their first public concert was at Yale University in November 1979, amidst the pageantry of the Harvard-Yale football game. The group performed in their first film in 1982, entitled First Affair and starring Melissa Sue Anderson and Loretta Swit. Their most recent appearance was in Mona Lisa Smile, a 2003 movie starring Julia Roberts that was set at Wellesley College. The Harvard Din & Tonics of 2009 celebrated their thirtieth anniversary with a concert at Harvard's Sanders Theater on March 14, 2009.
Origin of the Name
The name Din & Tonics is a pun on the popular drink gin and tonic, and the words din, meaning a loud noise, and tonic, a musical term meaning the first note of a musical scale. The lime green socks that the group wears are representative of the lime that is traditionally served with the gin and tonic, hence their slogan "A cappella with a twist."
Repertoire and Performance
The Dins, composed of 12 to 15 male undergraduates, is an entirely self-directed group. Most of their arrangements are done by current or former members of the group. Their repertoire consists primarily of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, as well as humor songs drawn from various periods and styles. Their repertoire also extends at times to numerous other genres, including folk, rock, calypso, spiritual, and pop. They regularly perform in white tie, tails, and their signature lime green socks.
The Din and Tonics began performing their own arrangement of Sh-Boom (generally regarded as the first popular doo-wop song after it became a #1 hit on the Billboard charts in 1954) in 1979. It has served as the Dins' signature song, and they have performed it at almost every concert since. Sh-Boom is featured on twelve of the group's thirteen albums.
The Dins have appeared on television shows, including The Price is Right and Good Morning America, and have performed the Star Spangled Banner for the San Francisco Giants, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the PGA’s Ryder Cup, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, the Boston Celtics, the Boston Bruins, and the Boston Breakers.
Traveling and Tours
The Dins have performed overseas since the founding of the group, and began touring Asia regularly in the late 1980s. Since 1990, the Dins have gone on world tours biennially. Each tour is between 2 and 3 months long and includes performances in about 15 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and North America. Additionally, they travel regularly to Vail, Colorado, Washington, D.C., New York City and spend spring break performing in Bermuda or Whistler, BC. The Dins have toured in: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the Vatican City. While on tour in 2010, the Dins performed at the closing ceremonies for the Shanghai Expo music festival.
Notable Collaborations and Performances
The Dins have performed for jazz vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Bobby McFerrin, for members of the New York Voices, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, actresses Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange, Kathie Lee Gifford and Kathleen Turner, actor Andy Garcia, comedian Jackie Mason, Maestro Keith Lockhart of the Boston Pops, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Caroline Kennedy, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, as well as the Governor of Bermuda and the U.S. ambassadors to Australia, Germany, Greece, Nepal, Ireland, Morocco, Norway, Italy and Belgium. The Dins have recently performed with the award-winning German vocal quintet Vocaldente and Icelandic vocalist Andrea Gylfa.
The Din and Tonics have produced 13 albums thus far:
- In the Beginning (1983)
- With a Twist (1985)
- Dins at 10 (1988)
- In the Limelight (1990)
- Tonic Boom (1992)
- Sublime (1994)
- Toast of the Town (1996)
- Platonic (1998)
- Freshly Squeezed (2000)
- The Green Album (2002)
- Dinbound (2004)
- Hint of Lime (2008)
- The Pursuit of Snappiness (2010) — This album features a song written for the Dins by composer Nathaniel Stookey and lyricist Daniel Handler (author of A Series of Unfortunate Events under the pen name Lemony Snicket)
- Rhapsody in Green (2012)
- The Harvard Din & Tonics official website
- The Harvard Din & Tonics perform for Andy Garcia
- The Harvard Din & Tonics' promotional video
- The Harvard Din & Tonics sing the National Anthem at the Red Sox / Yankees game
- The Harvard Din & Tonics sing "Summertime"
- The Harvard Din & Tonics in the Harvard Gazette