CU Buffoons bring a cappella to Steamboat on Saturday
January 18, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Ski Area isn't the only organization celebrating a golden anniversary this year. Another Colorado tradition steeped in history turned 50 this year: a group of young men who'd be quite at ease singing a version of "Happy Birthday" complete with complex vocal harmonies, finger-snapping and beatboxing.
The CU Buffoons is a men's a cappella group from the University of Colorado Boulder, where every year, several new members are introduced and several leave.
But the glue that holds the 16-person group together is music, which they arrange and pass down to the next generation, year after year.
Some of the group's songs have been in its repertoire for decades, and members hold on to the oldies with Stevie Wonder and Al Green hits. Still, the group keeps it contemporary with arrangements of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cake songs, too.
The Buffoons will be performing in Steamboat Springs on Saturday at Colorado Mountain College. The concert, which is sponsored by Emerald City Opera, begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and free for children younger than 10.
Sophomore engineering student Peter Hassinger is the reason the Buffoons are coming to Steamboat. A longtime visitor to the Yampa Valley, Hassinger was invited to rehearse, perform and help out backstage at Emerald City Opera last summer.
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"I had a really good time with that, just being around such talented people," the bass singer said.
He said he's looking forward to performing here Saturday.
"It's exciting to get to a different location but still be doing a cappella," he said. "Just knowing the sort of musical community that is in Steamboat, I've definitely seen the interest there."
CU senior and Buffoons business manager Joe Riedel said that it's not often the Buffoons leave the Front Range for a concert.
"But we don't typically go to ski resorts or ski towns, which is pretty exciting," Riedel said. "It's going to be cool to be able to spread our good cheer outside of Boulder and Denver."
He said he would describe the group as an entertainment endeavor, aiming to capture the audience with singing, comedy and improvisation.
They group performs as many as 60 times each year and rehearses two nights per week. Members perform without any backup beat or instruments — it's all done with their voices.
With beatboxing and singing sometimes strange syllables, Hassinger said, it's an exciting challenge to bring vocal life to classic songs.
"I just really like that you have to kind of adapt your voice," he said. "It's really cool to see how we bring instruments into the group even though we don't have any."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com
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