Singing Spring Break: Three a cappella singing groups are in Bermuda this week to tour restaurants and hotels and perform a lunchtime concert at the Anglican Cathedral tomorrow. Pictured are Andrew Cone and Kevin Chow from The Harvard Krokodiloes and Elena Butler and Annie Stone from The Radcliffe Pitches.
Singing Spring Break: Three a cappella singing groups are in Bermuda this week to tour restaurants and hotels and perform a lunchtime concert at the Anglican Cathedral tomorrow. Pictured are Andrew Cone and Kevin Chow from The Harvard Krokodiloes and Elena Butler and Annie Stone from The Radcliffe Pitches.
Harvard University students can't think of a better way to spend their Spring Break than 'stress-free performing' on their favourite island.

Yes, it's that time of year when more than 30 American undergraduates take Bermuda by storm with a whole host of singing performances.

If you have spotted crowds of musical-looking students, they are likely to be members of the three a cappella singing groups touring the island this week.

The annual tour is said to be the highlight of their performing calendar as they love seeing  the energetic response they get from local audiences.

The Radcliffe Pitches, The Harvard Krokodiloes and The Harvard Din and Tonics have made Bermuda their home for Spring Break as they perform at hotels, restaurants and private functions.

The one female and two male groups will come together tomorrow for a free lunchtime concert at the Anglican Cathedral, under the patronage of Consul General Gregory Slayton.

Fundraising activities

Annie Stone, who is president of The Radcliffe Pitches, said they held various fundraising activities throughout the year so they could fund their traditional Bermuda-style Spring Break.

She said: "We look forward to coming to Bermuda each year, it's the highlight of our performing calendar.

"We call it stress-free performing as it gives us the chance to relax and spend time with one another while also singing."

The 20-year-old junior year literature student, who is visiting Bermuda for the third year, added: "It's great singing in Bermuda."

Since arriving on the island last Saturday, The Radcliffe Pitches have already performed at The Reefs, Pompano and plan to perform at Newstead Belmont Hills and at a nursing home.

Elena Butler, 21, musical director of The Radcliffe Pitches, said: "We are used to performing to students, so we like the more mature audiences we see here as they know all the words to the songs. People can be seen singing, clapping and some couples even get up to dance during dinner.

"It's just great to see people watching us."

Elena said The Radcliffe Pitches were her "most intense music directing experience to date" but the group loved nothing better than "making people happy with their voices."

The Radcliffe Players were founded in 1975 and are Harvard's oldest all-female a cappella group. It's 12 members sing jazz and American standards, such as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

Golden Age

The Harvard Krokodiloes - known as The Kroks - are an all-male a cappella group consisting of about 12 undergraduates singing popular songs from 'America's Golden Age' -  the 1920s to 1960s. The tuxedo-clad men have been in existence for almost 40 years and are said to be Harvard University's oldest a capella group.

The Harvard Din and Tonics describe themselves as "a cappella with a twist" and have a repertoire based on American jazz standards from the 1920s to 1940s. The 12 undergraduates are known to perform in white tie, tails and lime green socks and featured in the 2003 film Mona Lisa Smile.

Each group has a strict auditioning process where the aim is to make "something out of nothing." It's described as "a bit like American Idol" as after the initial audition there are a number of call back auditions.

The three groups currently in Bermuda insist they are "really good friends" but do admit to a little "friendly rivalry."

Kevin Chow, 19, tour manager of The Krokodiloes, said they would be performing at Cambridge Beaches, the Dinghy Club and Tucker's Point Club this week.

He said: "Bermuda audiences really seem to like a cappella, we get a really good reaction from them. When singing we can see people mouthing the words back at us."

Andrew Cone, 20, of The Krokodiloes, added: "It's great having the three groups here at the same time and the island is small enough that you get the chance to get to know it."

The visit of the three a cappella groups ties in with this week's performances by Harvard University's Hasty Puddings Theatricals. The Hasty Puddings will be performing 'HPT 161: Acropolis Now' at City Hall Theatre from Thursday to Saturday at 8pm. Visit www.boxoffice.bm for tickets.
Enjoy a cappella?

- Two Harvard University a cappella singing groups - The Radcliffe Pitches and The Harvard Krokodiloes - will perform at the Bermuda National Gallery at City Hall tonight (Wednesday).

- The Reception starts at 5:30pm, with the singing starting at 6pm. The cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

- Then tomorrow (Thursday) The Radcliffe Pitches, The Krokodiloes and The Harvard Din and Tonics will perform in a lunchtime concert at the Anglican Cathedral.

- The concert from midday until 1pm is called Harvard in Hamilton for Humanity III. Everyone is welcome and admission is free, but donations to Habitat For Humanity Bermuda will be gratefully received.