Hidden in the Arches: Princeton Harmonies

Memorial Day weekend, I stepped out of my realm of West Coast weather and familiarity to venture into the history of our so-called “great nation.” Dreams of awe fulled my head and transferred into reality as we made our way back east to Roger’s 25th college reunion, at Princeton. Orange and black adorned every individual and stationary object in the vicinity of this small town. As we were making our approach, I realized I had no idea what I was in for.

Nightly parties with bands filled the campus courtyards as well as day time activities that could include drinking if you were so inclined, and the highlight of the entire event was a parade of all the classes including the recent graduating class (talk about long term connections…  equating to fund raising). The P-rade although incredibly inspiring was also incredibly long, therefore not the highlight of my trip.

Hidden in the arches, scattered throughout the campus you will find one of the jewels of Princeton in the form of rich, and sometimes, vibrant tones. A variety of a cappella groups serve as the campus’ most pure form of music and really the only performance that Roger and I cared to watch the entire weekend.

The groups sucked crowds into the arches with their melodies and harmonies and beat-boxing?? Yes, one of the groups, Old Nassoul changed up the traditional white boy collegiate sound by adding a bit of contemporary R&B with a smooth back beat that was out of this world.  Several groups perform competitively against other Ivy league schools while other just want to share their voices with the world. Here is a pretty comprehensive list of groups that perform at Princeton:

  • Tigertones
  • Tigerlilies
  • Tigressions
  • Roaring 20
  • Foot Notes
  • Old Nassoul
  • Wildcats
  • Nassoons
  • Shere Khan
  • Katzenjammers
  • Koleinu
  • Kindred Spirit
  • Culturally Yours
  • Dream Team
  • Firehazards
  • Jock Jams
  • The arches capture the sounds of their voices and ring perfectly through the air, like a small, vaulted church ceiling would do for a choir. Blair Arch, the most famous and largest of the arches on the Princeton campus is where we spent our evenings, in awe of their voices and communication for executing the highs and lows and solos. Sadly, I did not even attempt to capture the music on film as the thump-thump-thumping from the reunion dance parties would drown out the most incredible vocals on tape. But I guess you will have to trust me or make the track yourself.


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