November 06, 2014

On this Inauguration Weekend a parade of activity surrounds the occasion. One of the more dynamic events happens at Mechanics Hall this Friday when the a cappella tribes of Alden Voices gather to sing for incoming president Laurie Leshin at the Gala Dinner. The three groups to perform are Simple Harmonic Motion, Technichords, and The Audiophiles.

Simple Harmonic Motion is an all-male ensemble. The groups consists of Ted Armstrong, Joe Brown, Marc Christiansen, Matt Clark, Sebastian Espinosa, Jon Paul Gualdarrama, Liam Perry, Connor Haley, Nicolas Hewgley, Alden Kelsey, Bill Hunt, Nicholas Mroz, William Dziuban, and Jeremy Filteau.

Joe Brown is the assistant director. He says they will be singing selections from their repertoire, “which includes everything from barbershop classics such as ‘Good Old Acappella’ and ‘Coney Island Baby’ to modern hits like ‘Madness’ by Muse and ‘Lego House’ by Ed Sheeran.”

Simple Harmonic Motion has been in existence for more than 20 years, and Brown says their collective motto has been “Keep it Simple. We follow this advice with our name by often referring to ourselves as just SHM. In both science and music, there is often beauty and high quality in simplicity.”

Who: Simple Harmonic Motion, Technichords, Audiophiles

What: Inauguration Weekend

Where: Mechanics Hall, 321 Main Street

When: Friday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.

This event is by invitation only

Technichords is an all-female ensemble. Current members include Alison Brasser, Lydia Johnston, Tessa Hulburt, Amanda Baltazar, Katrina Bradley, Alessandra Cerio, Sonya Douglas, Victoria Scott, Gabrielle Amarosa, Megan Barter, Erica Bowden, Megan Errichetti, Allie McCarthy, and Katherine Moore.

Alison Brasser is the business director for the group. Asked about performing at the upcoming concert, she says, “We are very fortunate to have been asked to sing at this event. A president’s inauguration is a very special event and we are so excited to be a part of it.”

The Technichords will sing two pieces: “One new one for us called ‘Mr. Sandman’ and one of our repertoire pieces called ‘And So It Goes,’” Brasser says. “Mr. Sandman” is a favorite of the early “Girl Groups.” It was a hit for the Chordettes in 1954. “And So It Goes” is a beautiful ballad from the Billy Joel songbook.

“A president’s inauguration is a very special event and we are so excited to be a part of it.” – Alison Brasser, Technichords member

Brasser says the Technichords takes its name from two different words. “Techni coming from technical since we are a group located at a tech school,” she explains. “Chords coming from the musical term chord for a group of notes that make a harmony when played together. We are a group of ladies that love to sing. We all joined this group to have fun and make music together.”

Audiophiles is a co-ed a cappella ensemble. It features Sarah Roth, Shreyas Renganathan, Nathan Caso, Kristen Brann, Linda Baker, Alicia Weber, Rose Carmichael, Maeve McCluskey, Rachel Plante, Linette Davis, Nick Mollica, Michael Goldman, Mathew Schwartzman, Dylan Mahalingam, Khalif Mitchell, Nick Crispi, Patrick Petersen, Brady Snowden, and Brian Healy.

For the inauguration, Audiophiles will regale visitors with songs on the steps leading up to the Great Hall at Mechanics. “We will likely be singing our version of ‘Sail’ by Awolnation and perhaps our version of ‘Somebody I Used to Know’ by Gotye,” says Nathan Caso, the group’s business manager.

He says Audiophiles is “a rather brilliant pun that juxtaposes the tech-school appropriate term audio file with the term audiophile, which refers to a music lover and often headphone enthusiast. We perform a cappella remixes of pop and videogame music, as well as arrangements inspired by Pentatonix.”


For the actual installation of President Leshin, which happens at the WPI Sports & Recreation Center on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 10 a.m., the Vocal Performance Lab, under the direction of John Delorey, will sing the National Anthem. Nicolas Hewgley and Sarah Roth are the student conductors for the performance.

Delorey says there is a longstanding vocal tradition at WPI. “It is one that I bring from my undergraduate years where singers would stand in front of the president’s house and serenade her until she appeared at the front door.”