Mixed Company of Yale
|Mixed Company of Yale|
|Origin||Yale University; New Haven, CT|
Mixed Company of Yale is one of 15 official a cappella singing groups from Yale University (as recognized by the Yale University Singing Group Council). Founded in 1981, Mixed Company was originally formed as a group specializing in both sketch comedy and a cappella. Today, the group focuses primarily on singing, though the group often integrates skits and other comedy into performances. The group has toured on five continents, and regularly performs for world leaders visiting Yale's campus. Mixed Company has released 13 studio albums; their most recent recording, Gumption, was released in Fall 2013.
In the fall of 1981, a small group of Yale undergraduates found themselves unable to decide between sketch comedy and a cappella, so they decided to form a new group that incorporated elements of both, thus forming the original tap class of Mixed Company. Since then, the group has recorded 14 studio albums and has toured around the country and the world.
The first part of the rush process is Woolsey Jam, a concert at which each group performs two songs. This is followed by Dwight Hall Jam later in the week, directly after which rushees, mostly freshman undergraduates, sign up to audition. That weekend, a cappella groups watches these prospective members audition, and in the following few weeks the rushees meet the members of each group through a series of "rush meals," during which they eat with members of each group they have auditioned for. During these weeks, each group also holds a concert called a "Singing Dessert" in which rushees determine which group they like best musically. Afterwards, groups calls back certain students to hear them a second time in order to finally decide who to tap. Tap Night, an important Yale tradition, takes place during the next week at midnight on a day not known to rushees until announced by the Singing Group Council.
Mixed Company is known for its diverse repertoire, which covers a wide range of musical styles, including but not limited to rock, pop, musical theater, jazz, and rhythm & blues. Each piece in the repertoire was arranged, written, or transcribed by a Mixed Company member, and includes songs originally performed by Marc Cohn, Ben Folds, and Aretha Franklin, among others. "Hodja", the group's traditional opening song, has been performed at nearly every concert since the group's founding. The group's alumni song, "Zombie Jamboree" (popularized by Rockapella), is performed at all major concerts. New songs are added to the group's active repertoire every year, which includes around 30 songs. Arrangements added since 2010 include songs performed by Sister Hazel, Marc Broussard, Beyoncé, Mika, Whitney Houston, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Rascal Flatts, and more. Mixed Company also sings original songs written and arranged by group members, such as "Prayer" (Esther Hyun '12) and "How the Scenery Changes" (Brian Kim '04).
The group is also well known for its incorporation of original comedy routines, such as the popular "Hipster Mockumentary", into their concerts.
Tours and performances
As recent as 2010, tours have taken them to Greece, Rome, Ecuador, Chicago, California, Miami, and more. Mixed Company has performed for audiences on five different continents, including for the Education for Music Non-profit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair. They have also performed at the Vatican, the Empire State Building, and even at Citi Field, where they performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a New York Mets game. Mixed Company has also been featured on Connecticut Channel 3 News, where they performed "White Christmas". In addition to performances, Mixed Company holds workshops where they work with younger a cappella groups.
The Contemporary A Cappella Society has reviewed Mixed Company performances, calling them "rousing," featuring songs that are "outstandingly arranged" and "so full and so gorgeous."
- Bellamy Young '92, stage and film actress. Starred in The Life and Merrily We Roll Along on Broadway and currently plays Mellie Grant on the ABC show Scandal.
- James-Allen Ford '93, writer of In Transit, an Off-Broadway musical. In Transit was nominated for 5 Drama Desk awards, winning the 2011 award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance.
- Ari Shapiro '00, reporter for National Public Radio, frequent performer with Pink Martini.
- Ben Eakeley '00, performer in the Broadway and National Tour productions of Sweeney Todd as well as the Broadway production of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.
- Esteli Gomez '08, soprano in the Grammy Award winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth.
Mixed Company records a new album every other year. Since its founding, it has recorded 13 studio albums:
|Album title||Year||Recording type|
|Where's the Stage?||1987||Vinyl Record|
|Doing Justice||1989||Cassette Tape|
|Vertical Hold||1991||Cassette Tape|
|Sleeping In The Kitchen||1995||CD|
|Change of Plans||1999||CD|
|The Purple Album||2009||CD|
- "About Mixed Company". Mixedco.net. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "NPR Morning coverage of Rush, Mixed Company singers". Npr.org. 2002-09-26. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Adam Wieczorkowski. "Yale University Singing Group Council The Singing Group Council explains the rush process". Yale.edu. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Yale Admissions Extracurricular Groups". Admissions.yale.edu. 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Reference to Mixed Company's satirical documentary on hipsters". Louisvillecardinal.com. 2011-11-19. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Mixed Company performs for underprivileged children in East Harlem". Etmonline.org. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "YDN Article on Mixed Company performance in Woolsey Hall with Tony Blair". Yaledailynews.com. 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "New Haven Register on Malaria Relief Concert hosted by Tony Blair Faith Foundation". Elmcityexpress.blogspot.com. 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Mixed Company performing "White Christmas" on TV". Wfsb.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Mixed Company conducting a workshop with the Bel Cantos of Agnes Irwin School". Agnesirwin.org. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "CASA review of Parent's Weekend Concert". Casa.org. 2011-10-29. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- In Transit Musical written by Mixed Company Alumnus James-Allen Ford
- "Drama Desk Awards Nominations and Winners". Dramadeskawards.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Mixed Company Alumnus Ari Shapiro Biography". Npr.org. 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Ari Shapiro performance with Pink Martini". Washingtonpost.com. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Recorded A Cappella Review Board Album Reviews". Rarb.org. Retrieved 2012-10-14.