The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Besides hosting their own shows and singing at campus functions, Penn’s a cappella groups receive some unique requests.

A few weeks ago, Penn Singers and the Penn Glee Club were approached by a Canadian romantic who wanted their help proposing to his girlfriend while the couple was visiting Philadelphia. After they sang “All You Need is Love,” the girlfriend accepted the proposal and the video became a YouTube hit.

The Inspiration, a co-ed a cappella group, received a similar request two years ago.

College senior and Inspiration member Gaby Esensten said a graduate student wanted to simulate the marriage scene in the film Love Actually. In the movie, guests break out instruments as the newlyweds leave the wedding ceremony. In the Inspiration’s recreation, the group burst into song when the couple passed by.

“We looked at them and started singing ‘love, love, love’ with arm motions,” Esensten said, adding that the girlfriend “looked shocked but very happy.”

In addition to performing as part of a marriage proposal on SEPTA the Glee Club has performed a number of high profile gigs. These include singing for First Lady Michelle Obama and performing George Frideric Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” at Macy’s on December 30, with more than 600 other singers. Last year, they also performed at a Phillies game.

However, the requests are sometimes too bizarre to accept.

Director of Penn’s Glee Club Erik Nordgren said last year, the group was approached by a man who creates original board games to help him write and advertise a jingle for a new game.

“We didn’t follow up on [it] since it was just a bit too oddball,” Nordgren said, explaining that the game creator wanted them to not only come up with a small band, secure a recording studio and harmonize the melody, but also work for free.

Counterparts member and College senior Jonathan de Jong said the co-ed a cappella group has been asked to sing “To Sir with Love” to a Penn administrator replacing “Sir” with his name, Chris. A few years ago, Counterparts was asked to sing a few songs including “Happy Birthday” for a party at the Four Seasons Hotel.

“At the end they must have liked us so much, because we were all given $40 each as a tip,” he said.

Recently the BBC approached the jazz and pop a cappella group to help them advertise midterm elections.

“They flew us all the way across the pond to film us and then get our views on politics,” College junior and Counterparts member Eileen Cella said.

In this case, “one of our craziest gigs was actually one of coolest ones,” she said.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.