Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Last nightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Jamboree concert, hosted by Cantatrix and featuring all of Swat’s a cappella groups was markedly poignant as it marked the final concert of Sticks and Stones, one of SwarthmoreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s popular, coed pop-music a cappella groups. The group, currently made up of eight members, will dissolve after this semester.
In an interview, Rachel Rynick, ’07, a member of the group since her freshman year, explained that the group made the decision about a month or so ago, after a challenging semester. A compounding of issues drove the decision, as the group found itself shrinking and the remaining members needed to work even harder to devote the time needed to keep the group going.
“We lost three really great seniors who graduated last year,” Rynick explains, adding that due to the difficulty of making enough time for Sticks and Stones in addition to academics and other activities, two current seniors left the group at the beginning of the semester, one member announced that he would be taking a semester off, and about a month ago, two more stated that they would not be able to commit to the group this spring.
In addition, this year had fewer students auditioning for a cappella groups than in the past and all of the groups had a greater need for students due to the number of involved seniors who graduated last year and members absent on leave or abroad for the semester. As a result, Sticks and Stones needed to hold two rounds of auditions, a time consuming and exhausting process. “Luckily,” Rynick notes. “We have very strong musicians. Unfortunately, we couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get into regular rehearsals until halfway through the semester.” As a result, Sticks and Stones was unable to hold their fall concert.
Rynick reflects: “It’s such a good group of people and in that we have been incredibly lucky.” She adds her belief that those members who are sophomores and freshman and are interested in auditioning in the spring for other groups would be excellent additions to any of Swarthmore’s a cappella groups. Their goal, Rynick states, for their last performance, “Do things that we will enjoy and others will enjoy and remember fondly.”
Sticks and Stones final performance was last night, December 12. They performed four rather than the typical three pieces, including a special surprise sign-off piece that was collaboratively arranged by Rynick, Dan Perelstein ’09, and Shingo Murata ’07. The group clearly has fun with this and all of their set, making their performance especially enjoyable.