University of California Men's Octet
The UC Men’s Octet, sometimes termed the Cal Men’s Octet or the UC Berkeley Men’s Octet, is an eight-member male a cappella group at the University of California, Berkeley. Founded in 1948 as a member of the UC Choral Ensembles, the group’s broad repertoire features several genres of music including barbershop, doo-wop, pop and alternative, and a healthy dose of Berkeley fight songs. The Octet has recorded over a dozen albums and is one of only two multiple-time champions of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA)--the other being USC's SoCal VoCals—having won the competition in both 1998 and 2000.
While the Octet performs regularly around the San Francisco Bay Area for both alumni and the public, the group has toured all around the world including China, Australia, Europe and extensively throughout the United States. They also perform for Cal students every Wednesday during the academic year at one o’clock on Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza.
The group hosts a series of annual concerts. In the Fall, there is the West Coast A Cappella Showcase , where several groups from all over the country are invited to perform at Berkeley. Past guest groups in this concert have included former ICCA Champions Brigham Young University’s Noteworthy and Vocal Point as well as groups from Stanford, UCLA, USC, Mt. San Antonio College, and the University of Oregon. The group’s other annual concert performances include the UC Men’s Octet Spring Show and the year-end Unbuttoned Show .
The UC Men’s Octet has recorded over a dozen albums, including High Octane (2009), Octopella (2003), Gold (2000), Eight Misbehavin', Octogen, All Sing Blue And Gold, We Eight Too Much (1994), Eight is Enough (1993), Takin' the Joke too Far (1991), Better Eight Than Never (1989), "1948-1988" (1988), Around the World in Eight Days, Eight Times the Fun, Octa-Brew, and The University of California Men’s Octet.
Honors and awards
- 1998. International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Champions,
- 2000. International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Champions,
The Octet in the media
Over the years, the Men’s Octet has been cited in several California Bay Area publications such as The Daily Review, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Contra Costa Times. The Men’s Octet has also made several appearances in other media. From annual appearances on the San Francisco/San Jose radio station KFOG to appearing on the WCAU News in Philadelphia, the Men’s Octet have been heard nationwide. The Octet has even recorded a public health service announcement with the California Department of Health Services entitled “Wash Your Hands” as part of the Immunization Branch’s campaign against the spread of the flu. The group also recorded a nationally aired radio commercial for Coors beer to promote "The Pigskin Can".
- Varsity Vocals ICCA Previous Results http://varsityvocals.com/icca/previous.shtml
- Nicholas Galano, “Sound of Music Inspires, Fulfills,” The Daily Review May 10, 2004
- Connie Skipitares and Glennda Chui, “Joe Willits, Co-Founded a Pair of Vocal Octets: Valley Executive Maintained a Love of Song, UC-Berkeley,” San Jose Mercury News November 5, 2003
- Jackie Burrell, “Old Style, New Sounds,” Contra Costa Times March 4, 2006
- KFOG Morning Show Archives 2005, KFOG Morning Show Archives 2006
- NBC 10 News Recording
- California Department of Health Services - Wash Your Hands Jingle