Kenyon’s Hidden D1 Culture

The crowd spills out of the packed NCA. Multiple first years awkwardly grope each other while spilling room-temperature Keystone out of their solo cups. A student, face coated in purple and white body paint, jumps out of the second story window, lands spread eagle, and jumps back up. It is the beginning of the most fanatical series of events of the year. “It’s a cappella season!!” He smashes a Natty Lite can into his head and shouts, “I’m ready to hear a fuckin’ doo-wop cover of Amy Winehoussssssssse!”

Auditions are mostly ceremonial: it’s kept secret, but the Kenyon Pitch Slappers, Kenyon’s premiere Flo Rida cover band/a cappella group, actually recruits potential singers, beatboxers, and groupies as early as sophomores in high school. And once they get here, the Pitch Slappers do not intend on letting their recruits go any time soon. They made Doughboy Vandertramp fail comps twice because he can do a backflip.

“I wanted the insularity and intensity of a D1 school,” Gundertones music director Pippi Longstocking said when asked why she chose Kenyon, “but only with, like…have you seen Pitch Perfect?” Meanwhile, Pippi has not made a single comment in her seminar because she is just wrapping up an eight week period of vocal rest. The seminar in question is designed for students who, like Pippi, have the intensive 40hr/week rehearsal schedule and is just called “Shapes.” The majority of the MSSC’s resources were spent this last academic year teaching the Ms. Longstocking and the rest of the Gundertones, Kenyon’s premiere Celtic wailing group, how to count past twelve.

But all of this is nothing compared to the madness of March. Starting at midnight on March 1st, the groups meet somewhere secretive (the ruins of Olin are in talk for next year!) and sing at each other until their vocal chords give out on them and their body is a hollow shell of what it once was. Most make it to day four. It’s the most exciting time of the year!

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