Pitch Perfect and its sequel have been fueling the interest in college a capella groups recently. But the practice of singing and making music “without any instruments. It’s all from (their) mouths”, as Brittany Snow so straightforwardly put it, has been around for over a century. The Yale Whiffenpoofs is America’s oldest collegiate a capella group and was formed in 1909.
And over the past 100+ years, plenty of celebs spent their college days gracing campuses and theatres with their aca-awesomeness. We present 5 such stars who unsurprisingly – or unexpectedly – sang in such college a capella groups.
No surprises here. The Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter was an a capella singer long before he shot to the top of Billboard charts with his hit “All of Me”. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Legend was the president of the Penn Counterparts, the oldest co-ed a capella group at the Ivy League school.
Listen to a youthful and talented John Legend singing “We Can Work It Out” with his aca-peeps here:
Miller might have been something of a baddie on television, but the Prison Break star (who also plays villain Captain Cold on The Flash) has swoon-worthy vocals off-screen. While a fresh-faced English major at Princeton University, Miller was a member of the successful all-male a capella group, the Princeton Tigertones.
He can be heard singing “Blues in the Night” as the lead vocalist here:
Obviously. If we had to put money on any Hollywood star being a college a capella singer, we’d bet on Anne Hathaway. The actress did win an Oscar by belting “I Dreamed A Dream” in a four minute, close-up and reportedly uncut sequence in Les Miserables.
During a brief stint at Vassar College, Hathaway sang with the all-female a capella group, Measure 4 Measure.
James Van Der Beek
Calm yourselves, ladies!
Yes, you read it right. Television leading man James Van Der Beek’s successful onscreen career has lasted from his youthful Dawson’s Creek days and is still going strong with CSI: Cyber. But before any of that happened, The Beek was a member of Drew University’s all-male a capella group, 36 Madison Avenue. The successful group recently made it to the semi-finals of the ICCAs, which is the intercollegiate a capella competition in which Pitch Perfect‘s Barden Bellas competed.
Yes, she already impressed us with her PhD in neuroscience. But The Big Bang Theory star also has pretty sick vocals. While studying at the University of California, Los Angeles, she was a member and the music director of the Jewish a capella group, Shir Bruin.
Bialik has in fact been singing long before her a capella days; as a child, she was cast as a young Bette Midler in Beaches by singing a Beatles song in her audition.
Check out the actress singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” here: