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University of Pennsylvania Off the Beat - JPop.com
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University of Pennsylvania Off the Beat

University of Pennsylvania Off the Beat

University of Pennsylvania Off the Beat


In 1986, a determined freshman named Katie decided to form an a cappella group. "I guess I started the group because no one was doing the music I liked and of course, it was incredibly exciting to start something of this magnitude...I always wanted OTB to be the group that sounded like a band, not an a cappella group." "I was sitting with Mica and the musical director of Counterparts, Ed Schulteis, outside in the Annenberg circle and coming up with really stupid names. Read more on Last.fm
In 1986, a determined freshman named Katie decided to form an a cappella group. "I guess I started the group because no one was doing the music I liked and of course, it was incredibly exciting to start something of this magnitude...I always wanted OTB to be the group that sounded like a band, not an a cappella group." "I was sitting with Mica and the musical director of Counterparts, Ed Schulteis, outside in the Annenberg circle and coming up with really stupid names... Basically I liked the idea of our group singing on the street -- the "beat" being the street, like for reporters and cops -- and I thought that it also made a lot of sense since rock has syncopation (hence the "off" the beat part)." She was joined over the next year with mostly like-minded freshmen, rebels without a clue about a cappella. Unburdened by the constraints of experience, Off the Beat, as it was called, could be whatever its members wanted. At performances, our acclaim was that we looked like we were having fun (we couldn't believe that we were actually performing this stuff in front of people). We were determined to have the audience enjoy performances as much as we did. We appreciated every performance, every song, every joke, as a badge of our accomplishment.

"...and we dreamed of being a cutting edge group, not known only for its personality." A new crop of members brought energy, ideas, and dedication. This generation set its sights on becoming known for its musical talent as much as for its screwball comedy and entertaining shows. People started to come sober to rehearsal. Our arrangements became more complex. Our blend became tighter.

We rehearsed with our eyes closed, and we developed the wall of sound. We even stopped humming after the pitch was blown. ...Then came the signature OTB percussion, followed by our trademark syllables. Our repertoire expanded. And though it took four years to record our first CD, we managed to record our second CD in one. But we still did silly skits.

We continued to engage in lengthy discussions about the group's direction. We spent each spring break together, and some of us even lived together. We managed to progress musically while remembering our roots (not that our alumni would let us forget.) As a result, we evolved from a group of friends who happened to be singers to a group of singers who happened to be friends. So yes, our stable of soloists are diverse and impressive, our percussion gets more intense every year, and our alumni association is incorporated.

But OTB's soul lies in friendship, lifelong relationships forged by a group of people brought together--not by career interests or dorm assignments--but by music. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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