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THUNK a cappella
Origin Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois
Genres Collegiate a cappella
Years active 1993–present
Labels Independent
Website Official Site

Northwestern's THUNK a cappella is a 16-member co-ed collegiate a cappella group from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Founded in 1993, the group was originally called Melodious Thunk, created after the giant in American jazz music, Thelonious Monk, but the name was changed simply to THUNK because of legal formalities. THUNK is Northwestern University's oldest a cappella group on campus. International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) award-winners, and regularly featured on various a cappella media like the InsideAcappella[1] video blogs and The A Cappella Blog,[2] THUNK consistently demonstrates excellence in competition. The group is entirely student directed and produced. They have two to three sold-out shows each year, perform at special events around the Chicago area, and travel to Cape Town, South Africa every other year to provide music therapy and musical education outreach programs. In addition to on-campus performances each year, THUNK is regularly asked to sing at major events in the Chicago area. THUNK has performed at schools, hospitals, churches, charity events, private parties, and galas throughout the greater Chicago area. Some of THUNK’s notable performance venues include Northwestern University’s President’s Convocation, Wrigley Field, Westminster Abbey in London, England, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Royal National Theatre in London, England, and the Amphitheater at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town.

Today, THUNK tours both nationally and internationally. Over the past decade, they have performed in Chicago, New York City, London, and Cape Town, South Africa. Along with performances, they regularly compete in the International Collegiate Championships of A Cappella (ICCA), and they record albums. Upon graduating from the University, the alumni of the group continue their successes on some of the greatest stages in the country, both on Broadway and in Chicago’s top theaters. Currently there are THUNK alumni performing nightly on Broadway and in National tours. Former THUNK members have performed in the Tony Award winning shows Hairspray, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and RENT. In Chicago, you can find members of THUNK gracing the stages of the Steppenwolf Theater, Lookingglass Theatre Company, and Marriott theatres. Adam Kantor, Broadway performer, who played the role of Mark Cohen in Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway, is an alumni of THUNK.[3] Also, THUNK alum Sabrina Sloan appeared on season 6 of American Idol in the top 24.[4] THUNK has established itself as one of the most exciting, innovative, and talented groups of young artists in the Chicagoland area and the country.[5]

The Cape Town Project[edit]

In 2005, THUNK founded The Cape Town Project, a musical outreach program in South Africa.[6] The group's second trip to Cape Town in December 2006 included performances at clinics, hospitals and prisons, along with a two-day summer camp for underprivileged children from the area. THUNK views this philanthropic opportunity as a central part of its mission. From then on, The Cape Town Project has become a world renowned philanthropy event, where the members of THUNK travel to Cape Town every other year to provide music therapy and musical education outreach programs. In December 2012, THUNK took its fifth trip to Cape Town to hold these music education workshops for children. THUNK provided a record number of workshops that year, holding 6 workshops in only 8 days while traveling there. In addition to these workshops, THUNK performed at several concert venues to share a cappella music with the South African community and raise money for children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Most importantly, THUNK hopes to inspire South African children to discover their limitless potential and express themselves through art and music.

The Cape Town Project is funded by the assistance of donations from THUNK's benefactors, supporters, family, and friends. THUNK strives to raise enough money to travel to Cape Town every other year, and they do so by the help of others. In turn, they help South African children find hope to fight against the struggles of poverty, drugs, and HIV/AIDS.

THUNK also provided inspiration behind Broadway in South Africa. Many members of THUNK who are now Broadway performers, including Adam Kantor and Sean Bradford, traveled to Cape Town with THUNK on the very first Cape Town Project trip, and since then, they have found the project so inspirational that they developed the project known as Broadway in South Africa.[7] Sean In May of 2013, Sean Bradford will be participating in the New York City event for Broadway in South Africa.[8]


Year Presenter Award Result
1997 ICCA Midwest Semifinal[9] Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement Runner Up ("Blood of Eden", arr. Dan Neustadt)
1998 ICCA Midwest Semifinal[10] Overall 2nd Place
1998 ICCA Midwest Semifinal[10] Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement Winner ("Eleanor Rigby", arr. Dan Neustadt)
1998 ICCA Midwest Semifinal[10] Best Soloist Winner (Willis White, "Half the Moon")
2000 ICCA Midwest Semifinal[11] Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement Nomination (Willis White, "Say My Name")


Studio Albums

  • Ye Olde Thunke Cde (2001)
  • Dr. Strangethunk, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the A Cappella (2003)
  • See Through Soul (2012)

Notable Alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1], InsideACappella.
  2. ^ [2], The A Cappella Blog.
  3. ^ [3], Adam Kantor on Broadway.
  4. ^ [4], People Biography about Sabrina Sloan.
  5. ^ [5], The Contemporary A Cappella Society.
  6. ^ [6], Center for Student Involvement.
  7. ^ [7], Broadway in South Africa.
  8. ^ [8], Broadway in South Africa NYC Event.
  9. ^ [9] ICCA 1997
  10. ^ a b c [10] ICCA 1998
  11. ^ [11] ICCA 2000
  12. ^ [12], Willis White.
  13. ^ [13], Adam Kantor Biography.
  14. ^ [14], American Idol Biography.
  15. ^ [15], Sean Bradford on Broadway.

External links[edit]

Category:Collegiate a cappella groups Category:Northwestern University Category:Musical groups established in 1993