“In The Buff” a capella 20th birthday concert

February 22, 7 p.m. (doors open 6:15), Glenn Miller Ballroom, University Memorial Center, Euclid & Broadway |

I hope you don’t already have plans for Saturday night. Good, because we’re going to the Glenn Miller Ballroom to rock out at In The Buff’s 20th birthday party!

Twenty is young in people years, but it’s venerable in the world of all-male a capella, and to celebrate the milestone ITB alums from all over the country, and possibly even the world, are returning to Boulder to sing with the current members.

Though he’s insanely busy rehearsing for the concert, ITB’s President and C.U. senior Shea Hairston took time out to speak with me. Here’s what I learned about what makes In The Buff unique, and what we have to look forward to on Saturday night.

What’s different about In The Buff? Instead of run-of-the-mill a capella standards, ITB performs contemporary rock music that audiences can really connect with. “We sing for people who might not have ever heard a capella,” says Shea. And when was the last time you paid $2 for a concert ticket? (Additional donations will be accepted.)

How does the group choose its music? Are there songs that just don’t work for a capella even if you love them? ITB is very democratic – any of the sixteen members can arrange a song and bring it to the group for consideration. If the song passes muster, there’s a multi-week process of learning it and auditioning solos. But some songs just don’t go over with an audience. If ITB performs something once or twice and it falls flat, they drop it from their repertoire. “We’re still getting the kinks out of one song for this weekend,” Shea admits.

What’s it like being a member of In The Buff? Are you guys campus celebrities? Shea says it doesn’t go quite that far, but now and then he’s recognized by someone who’s seen him on stage, and being in the group since he was a freshman has shaped his own image of who he is at C.U. It’s made a lot of great memories he’ll look back on years from now. “I get to sing with my best friends.”

After the big party, what’s next for In The Buff? The group hopes to raise enough money to produce a new C.D. Are you a patron of the arts? Consider the “longstanding trademark performance offer” on ITB’s website. It’s not in my budget, but maybe it’s in yours.

While you’re there, turn up the volume for a sneak preview of what’s in store at the Glenn Miller Ballroom gala where Shea will be joined by Adam, Nick, Jake, Jasper, David, Mac, Robert, Ben, Jordan, Alex, Jack, and a couple of Tylers and Johns. And me. And dozens of ITB alums, and possibly a thousand swooning fans.

Photo Credit: In The Buff

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