The Alleycats (University of St Andrews)

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The Alleycats are one of the UK's leading mixed-voice, collegiate a cappella groups, hailing from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. The group was established in 2001, making them one of the oldest collegiate a cappella groups in Scotland. Since then, they have been instrumental in the rise of collegiate a cappella in the UK, producing 9 albums, and performing across the UK.

The Alleycats
Origin St. Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom
Genres A cappella, Vocal, Contemporary


2001-09: Formation and Early Years[edit]

The group was formed in 2001 by two students, Ben Murray and Dan Wright and soon grew with the addition of Matt King, George Hollis, Vince Wong, Nigel Mattinson, Bill Calderhead and Dave Caves. In the following years, the group set about increasing their reputation around the university, performing at several gigs around the university town. Originally an all-male group, in 2007 girls were permitted to audition, and today the group consists of roughly half males and half females. They recorded four albums before 2008, the titles of which played on the feline name of the group : Their debut album, The Cat Pack; More Than A Feline; Cat Fight and Platinum Chat.

The group released their fifth studio album in 2008, entitled Meow, That's What I Call Music. That year, they applied to be on the BBC's primetime show, Last Choir Standing, where they progressed to the final 15. However, they were eliminated in Heat 1.[1][2]

In March 2009, the group entered the inaugural Voice Festival UK competition at the semifinal stage, held in St Andrews. In the semifinal, they won the award for 'Outstanding Performance' for their mash-up of "Dance Wiv Me", "Lovestoned" and "Billie Jean", and progressed to the final in London.[3]

That year, they also released their sixth studio album, Press Paws, which included tracks they had performed during Last Choir Standing.

2010: Cat Touch This and Edinburgh Fringe debut[edit]

In March 2010, the group competed in the Voice Festival for the second time and progressed to the final again, winning the award for 'Outstanding Performance' for their overall set in the final.[3]

From 16 to 21 August of that year, the group debuted in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010 and were given an official Sell-Out Show award.[4]

2011: We're Not Kitten[edit]

The group released an album titled "We're not Kitten", featuring some of the songs that had earned them success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010.[5] Featured on the album, their arrangement of 'Titanium' earned them the #2 spot in the UACUK (The UK University A Cappella Blog)'s "Best of British 2012".[6] In the Voice Festival UK 2011 and 2012, the Alleycats were awarded "Outstanding Vocal Percussion", for Cammy Dobbie's performances, as well as "Outstanding Choreography" for Philip De Winter Shaw's work on "Till the World Ends / DJ Got us fallin’ in love / Tonight".[7]

The group performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013 for two weeks (31 July – 13 August) achieving 4-Star reviews.[8][9][10][11]

2013: "Furplay"[edit]

In November 2013, The Alleycats released their EP, 'Furplay', as a three track teaser for their album, released in 2014.[12] The EP was recorded and produced by Liquid 5th, a studio based in the US.

2014: "Careless Whisker" to Present[edit]

In August 2014, The Alleycats released their latest album, 'Careless Whisker'. The album was again recorded and produced by Liquid 5th, a studio based in the US.

2014: US Tour[edit]

In January 2014, The Alleycats embarked on their first tour to the East coast of the USA. For 10 days they travelled around Boston, New Haven, New York and New Jersey, visiting and singing with other university groups. They visited the Yale Spizzwinks, Tufts Sq!, The Boston College Bostonians, the MIT Chorallaries, the NYU Mixtapes and the Princeton Katzenjammers as well as performing at the Spence School in NYC. The tour was a huge success and manager, Jessica Browne, hopes touring will now be something the group will do annually.

Current members[edit]

The members of the group can change every year as old students graduate and new students enroll.

Soprano Alto Tenor Bass
Jenni Philp Ayanna Coleman Potempa Nikhil Harsiani Chris Furby
Sasha Wood Jessica Browne Joe Revell Gareth Hughes
Melissa Wilkie Caitlin Macdonald Oliver Rex Neil Stewart
Gustaf Haynes


  •   Group Member in Corresponding Year
  • MD Musical Director in Corresponding Year
Name 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14 14-15
Steph Bown
Melissa Wilkie
Oliver Hayes MD
Gareth Hughes
Ayanna Coleman Potempa
Chris Furby MD
Max Kelleher
Neil Stewart
Tommy Rowe
Jessica Browne
Caitlin Macdonald
Sasha Wood
Joe Revell MD
Oliver Rex
Nikhil Harsiani
Jenni Philp
Gustaf Haynes

Albums & EPs[edit]

Careless Whisker (2014)[edit]

  1. Home
  2. The Other Side/Wild Ones
  3. Everybody Talks/Scream and Shout
  4. Young and Beautiful
  5. Sweet Dreams
  6. Landslide
  7. Put Your Records On
  8. Call My Name/Say My Name

Furplay (2013)[edit]

  1. L.O.V.E
  2. Dancing On My Own (Robyn)
  3. Shake It Out (Florence & the Machine)

We're Not Kitten (2011)[edit]

  1. You Are the Best Thing (Ray LaMontage)
  2. Forever (Chris Brown)
  3. Kiss Me (Sixpence None the Richer)
  4. When We Were Young (The Killers)
  5. The Cave (Mumford & Sons)
  6. Dj Got Us Falling in Love/Till the World Ends/Tonight (I'm Lovin' You) (Usher/Britney Spears/Enrique Inglasias)
  7. That Don't Impress Me Much (Shania Twain)
  8. In My Place (Coldplay)
  9. Toxic (Britney Spears)
  10. Titanium (David Guetta ft. Sia)
  11. Save the World (Swedish House Mafia)
  12. All These Things That I've Done (The Killers)

Cat Touch This (2010)[edit]

  1. Good Girls Go Bad (Cobra Starship)
  2. Any Way You Want It (Journey/Roy Orbison)
  3. Breathe (Sean Paul ft Blu Cantrell)
  4. Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
  5. Starlight (Muse)
  6. Whatcha Say (Jason Derulo)
  7. Stuck In The Middle With You

Press Paws (2009)[edit]

  1. Dance Wiv Me/Lovestoned/Billie Jean (Dizzee Rascal/Justin Timberlake/Michael Jackson)
  2. With a Little Help from My Friends (Joe Cocker)
  3. Violet Hill (Coldplay)
  4. I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ (Scissor Sisters)
  5. About You Now (Sugababes)
  6. Freedom/Valerie/Faith (Wham!/Amy Winehouse/George Michael)
  7. I Wanna Be The Only One (Eternal)
  8. Heartbeats (Jose Gonzalez)
  9. Circle of Life (Elton John)
  10. Bonus Track!: Love Machine (Girls Aloud)

Previous Albums[edit]

  1. Meow, That's What I Call Music
  2. Platinum Chat
  3. Cat Fight
  4. More Than A Feline
  5. The Cat Pack

Notable Reviews[edit]

Three Weeks [13] UACUK [14] Broadway Baby[9] Edinburgh Fringe 'What's on'[15] Vocal Australia[16] Edinburgh Fringe Review (EFR) [17]


External links[edit]