No instruments? For the Yorkies, Andover’s all-male acapella group, it’s no problem. Famed for their heart-melting performances throughout the community, the Yorkies are well known as a small group with a big sound.
Auditions were held in September as girls rushed to Paresky’s Lower Left in hopes to be serenaded by one of the boys trying out. With this traditional try-out, the Yorkies gained several new members to add to the experienced vocalists.
“This year, we broke tradition by letting in two juniors (Peter Heckendorn ’17 and Johnny Rex ’17) instead of just one. Part of the reason is that we were really focused on a tight group dynamic, and they’re both great kids who have a lot to offer to the group! We also made sure to debut our freshmen on Grasshopper Night in our biggest performance of the year – they were a hit!” said member Devontae Freeland ’15 in an email to The Phillipian.
Primarily student run, the Yorkies gathered twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, for an hour to an hour and a half to train their voices and prepare for their next performance. Co-Heads Auguste Horner ’14 and Clint Yoo ’14 are dedicated to arranging the Yorkies’ music, perfecting their complicated harmonies and training the next generation of singers.
“We try to use our practices effectively,” said Yoo. “Each day in practice we start with a warm-up and everyone harmonizing. We even try to get a new song in every month. In the end, though, we always end up fooling around a lot. That’s one minor issue we confront every year. We’re a bunch of goofy kids who like to have fun.”
Luckily, this doesn’t stop them from being one of the most beloved groups on campus. With new events to sing at, such as Andover’s first Relay for Life event, as well as classic annuals performances like Grasshopper Night, the Yorkies are hard to miss.
The Yorkies perform songs in a wide variety of genres, ranging from a capella classics to modern pop songs.
“This year, one of the things the Yorkies focused on was having fun with our music. We wanted to pick songs that would not only make our audiences feel good, but that we would enjoy too! That’s why we sang some feel-good oldies like ‘Africa’ by Toto, Billy Joel’s ‘For The Longest Time’ and ‘End of the Road’ by Boyz II Men” said Freeland.
A popular event each winter is their tradition of “Yorkeling,” in which the group travels to all the female dorms on campus to sing Christmas carols.
“We pride ourselves as the all-male, premier a capella group,” said Yoo. “It’s a good outlet for many of us who like to sing. Singing in groups is more fun, enjoyable, and gives you more opportunities.”
Though many notable singers are leaving, the Yorkies are sure to be a well-loved part of the Andover community for years to come.
“The Yorkies is by no mean average,” said Yoo. “We are strong and proud of our voices, and we know how to be serious and have fun.”