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Higher Ed in the News

A cappella singers suddenly the popular kids on campus

October 20, 2010

A cappella is enjoying an explosion on U.S. campuses, with new groups popping up every year and, for the first time in about half a century, a high profile in the popular culture.

On many campuses, singers say they've been surprised to find themselves becoming sexy celebs of sorts.

At Georgetown, each a cappella group generally fills a handful of spots each year, leading students to say that the odds of getting in are even steeper than those they faced to get into the highly selective college.

The campus's oldest group, the all-men Chimes, has been around since 1946. Two years ago, students launched another men's group, the Capitol G's. Then there are the Saxatones and two other coed groups, The Phantoms, who have opened for the Black Eyed Peas, and Superfood. A women's group, the GraceNotes, has been around for 30 years and is known for wearing short skirts that sometimes barely pass the fingertip test.

There's no single explanation for the a cappella explosion. YouTube and a growing number of students who know their way around recording technology have helped spread the word about campus singing groups.

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