The a cappella group Euphonism performs at the wedding of Camilla and Richard in Georgetown. Photograph by Peter Bang Photography
Ever since we found out that Afro Blue—the 12-member a cappella group from Howard University—was chosen to compete on NBC’s The Sing-Off this past season, we’ve had four-part harmonies and love-ballad mashups on the brain. Don’t get us wrong—we love a classic string quartet as much as the next gal, but our inner Gleek is crying for something fresh. A first dance to a barbershopped version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”? Yes, please. A melody of Ol’ Blue Eyes standards as guests mingle at cocktail hour? Our fingers are snapping already.
Intrigued? You’re in luck! Though Afro Blue might be a bit hard to book these days (they almost made it to the Sing-Off finals!), we’ve tracked down four local groups that are available for ceremonies, receptions, engagement fetes, and the like. And gentlemen, take note: We can’t imagine a more romantic proposal idea. A sweet, unexpected serenade by a troupe of a cappella crooners, followed by our man on one knee? SWOON.
Watch them in action (from their first-prize winning performance at the Regional Harmony Sweepstakes Competition)
In the fall of 2009, Tony Colosimo asked three fellow members of the Alexandria Harmonizers to help stage the perfect proposal for his wife-to-be, Elizabeth. As a surprise, the four friends learned a classic barbershop tune, “You Tell Me Your Dream,” to sing to Elizabeth before Tony popped the question. She said yes (see, we told you it was a good idea!), and they realized they had a good thing going—and Da Capo was born.
Although the group’s focus is barbershop, they say they can pull from a more diverse repertoire of love ballads, spiritual songs, and anything else that lends itself to a four-part harmony. And if you have a special song you’d like them to learn, they’re up for the challenge.
Rates start at $800, and their calendar fills up quickly. Fill out the contact form on their Web site for more information.
You may have already seen this video of the flash mob proposal staged this spring at Good Stuff Eatery (it’s gotten almost 30,000 views on YouTube), but you may not have known that Capital Hearings, a 13-member a cappella group, was behind it. Their sweet rendition of Built to Spill’s “Distopian Dream Girl” made us (and Ashley Bowen, the lucky bride-to-be) melt into our milkshakes.
Capital Hearings was formed in 2010, when a collaboration of musician friends got together to sing “just for fun.” Soon, the singers—some of whom have performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center—were getting request after request for a cappella performances at weddings and events. These days, they’re known for their diverse songbook—they’ve tackled everything from doo-wop to classical, country to Katy Perry. Interested? Check them out at their holiday concert at Strathmore on December 14, or swing by the Willard Hotel on December 22, where they’ll be caroling.
Rates vary; visit their Web site for more info.
When a couple asked Euphonism to learn Bruno Mars’s “Marry You” for their wedding, the seven members of Euphonism were stumped. “Have you ever listened to that song? Some of it’s a little . . . inappropriate,” says group member Amanda Aldag with a laugh. No worries—Euphonism just reworked the arrangement, rewriting some of the, er, irreverent lyrics to fit a more genteel wedding celebration. “We do that all the time,” says Aldag.
Euphonism, who were chosen by Real Weddings couple Camilla and Richard to sing at their Georgetown affair, have been performing at weddings for more than four years. They have more than 75 songs in their repertoire to pull from, but they love learning special requests, as well. They’ve been getting more and more bookings these days, so it’s best to contact them at least six months out. “It’s like a renaissance of a cappella lately,” says Aldag. “We’ve been getting asked to do events that we’d never done before.”
Rates start at $800. Visit their Web site for more details.
Snowday’s five members are all connected in some way to other local a cappella groups—two members, including Amanda Aldag, also sing in Euphonism. The group is a collaborative side project that allows them to bring fun, upbeat music to schools and private events. And though their focus is on education (they even sponsor an a cappella camp called “Smart Mouth” for local students), they don’t shy away from performances at wedding ceremonies and receptions. “We focus on positive celebration music, but we do span genres,” says Aldag. “We’ve been known to do jazz standards, classical, even barbershop.” They’re also able to do custom arrangements for songs they’ve never tackled before, provided they have enough lead time to work their magic.
Rates start at $1,000; more details are available on their Web site