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Silver Chord Bowl opens ‘Four Sundays in February’ in Northampton

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTHAMPTON ARTS COUNCIL<br/>Pitch Slapped from the Berklee College of Music

The Northampton Arts Council will hold this year’s Silver Chord Bowl a cappella show Sunday at Smith College’s John M. Greene Hall. It is the first event of this year’s “Four Sundays in February” series, sponsored by the council.

This year’s line-up of collegiate a cappella acts will include the Tufts Beelzebubs, The Northeastern Nor’easters, the NYU N’Harmonics, the UCONN Rubyfruit, Shades of Yale, Berklee College of Music’s Pitch Slapped and the Smith College Smithereens.

Many of the acts are nationally recognized and have won or scored well in other shows and competitions. Notably unique acts include the Smithereens — the oldest women’s a cappella group in the country — and the Shades of Yale, which celebrates the music of the African diaspora.

“We feel that this is a really strong year,” said Bob Cilman, the executive director of the Arts Council. “We have a really fantastic line-up, all the acts are top-notch.”

As per tradition, the Northamptones, a group of local favorites from Northampton High School, will open the show.

The Silver Chord Bowl has been held annually for 29 years. The Arts Council took over production of the event from the organizers of Winterfest in 1993, according to Cilman, and has been running it ever since.

Originally held at the Academy of Music in Northampton, the popular show drew large audiences, necessitating a move, first to the Calvin Theater in Northampton in 2001, and then to John M. Greene Hall at Smith College the following year.

According to Cilman, the show sells out every year.

He said that the show had been held as a contest in its early years, but the Arts Council decided to do away with that aspect because the competition didn’t add much to the event.

“We thought it would more interesting as a showcase instead of a contest, and the collegiate a cappella groups don’t like to compete,” Cilman said. “I don’t think anyone really misses it.”

The Silver Chord Bowl will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at John M. Greene Hall at Smith College. Tickets cost $12 in advance; $15 at the door. Premium tickets may be purchased in advance for $30. Tickets are available at State

Street Fruit Store in Northampton, Cooper’s Corner in Florence, and Food for Thought Books in Amherst, online at Brown Paper Tickets, www.brownpapertickets.com/event/297192, or by calling 800-838-3006.

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