Archive for the ‘News and Events’ Category

When We’re 64 – Spring Sing 2014 Program Line-Up

Concerned that no one would need us or feed us now that we are sixty-four, this year the Augmented Eight traveled far and near in search of exciting “firsts.” On the “far” side, for the first time we held our annual Fall Mountain Weekend at the beach, and new baritone Reid Adler shortly heads to the Milwaukee Pug Fest for a milestone birthday. “Near” firsts include record receipts of nearly $25,000 at our annual Sing Out for Shelter charity concert, new T2s Mox Weber and Saumit Sahi commuting daily deep into the Virginia suburbs, and new baritone Ed Spitzberg frequenting Potomac, Maryland as Daddy Warbucks in a community theater production of Annie. We are all thrilled to be able to add Wilmington to our list of exciting travel firsts.

There She Goes
Music and lyrics, L.A. Mavers (La’s), Tom Springfield/Jim Dale (Seekers)
Arr. Tom Bulleit

When I Fall in Love
Music, Victor Young, lyrics Edward Heyman
Arr. Bill Cline

Brown-Eyed Girl
Music and lyrics Van Morrison
Arr. David Rodwin (Princeton Tiger Tones) and Bill Cline

Through the Years
Music Vincent Youmans, lyrics Edward Heyman,
Arr. G. Puerling (Hi Lo’s)

Ode to Joe
Music George Gershwin, lyrics Mike Wyatt
Arr. Peter Mucchetti

Still Rock and Roll to Me
Music and lyrics: Billy Joel
Arr: Bill Cline

1st Tenor: Ed Dickens, John Magnus~, John Symington, Mike Wyatt
2nd Tenor: Rick Bond, Tom Bulleit, Saumit Sahi*, Mox Weber*
Baritone: Reid Adler*, Bill Cline**, Josh Gotbaum, Ed Spitzberg*
Bass: Paul Kraske, Peter Mucchetti, Bill Nussbaum
*New Member; **Director, ~ On sabbatical

Sing Out for Shelter (2014) Hits Highest Note Yet!

This year’s Sing Out for Shelter homeless benefit concert was the most successful ever, exceeding our previous highest total of ticket proceeds and donations by a whopping 60%.

The Augmented 8 was joined by the Katzenjammers (Princeton University’s oldest co-ed a cappella group); recent NBC The Sing-Off finalists, The Beelzebubs (an all-male group from Tufts); and Some of the Parts (a men’s group from Baltimore). All  proceeds benefitted three local organizations that serve the more than 12,000 individuals who experience homelessness each year in the Greater Washington DC Region: the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place (CCHFP), Christ House, and MMUMC’s own Metropolitan House. This annual concert has raised more than $200,000 over the past 22 years. Download the event program.

In October, 2010, CCHFP honored the Augmented Eight with the 13th annual Benjamin E. Cooper Award recognizing outstanding contributions by members of the Washington DC community to the cause of ending homelessness.

We would like to recognize the organizations and individuals whose time, effort, and support helped make this program a reality:

Christ House • Friendship Place • Metropolitan House
The Katzenjammers • The Beelzebubs • Some of the Parts
Dona Collary • Christina Lauterbach
Ann Michel • William Potts
Nina Oleynik • Jackie Prosky
and our volunteer ushers, ticket takers, and the many other “behind the scenes” supporters.

The Augmented Eight
Claire Shipman, Person of Ceremonies
The Augmented Eight
Some of the Parts
Some of the Parts
The Beelzebubs
The Beelzebubs
The Beelzebubs

A8 adds new pipes to its ranks!

The Augmented Eight welcomes its two newest members, Saumit Sahi and Brandon Bierlein.

Saumit Sahi Saumit “Gen Z” Sahi – Second Tenor
Saumit graduated from Princeton in 2013. Notwithstanding the formidable curriculum offered at Saumit’s prestigious alma mater, Saumit occasionally requires additional explanation of cultural references in the A8 repertoire (such as references to whitewall tires, LP records and rotary dial telephones).
Rick Bond Brandon “It’s not a party without the” Bierlein– Baritone
Brandon, a lawyer, intends to join the judge advocate general’s corps of the United States Air Force. When pressed, Brandon assures us that he can handle the truth.



Grunyons Host Spring Sing 2013 in Detroit

“Sing Out for Shelter” 2013

The 21st Annual Sing Out for Shelter (SOS) concert to benefit organizations that serve homeless men and women was held on Saturday, February 9, 2013, at 8:00 PM at the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church (MMUMC) at 3401 Nebraska Avenue in Washington DC. The concert was organized by the Augmented Eight, a non-profit, men’s a cappella singing group which has performed for Washington audiences for over 50 years.

This year’s concert of a cappella vocal music benefitted three local organizations that serve the more than 30,000 individuals who experience homelessness each year in the Greater Washington DC Region – the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place (CCHFP), Christ House, and MMUMC’s own Metropolitan House. These concerts have raised approximately $180,000 over the past twenty years.

In October, 2010, CCHFP honored the Augmented Eight with the 13th annual Benjamin E. Cooper Award recognizing outstanding contributions by members of the Washington DC community to the cause of ending homelessness.

Watch and listen to Mike Wyatt and The Augmented Eight perform “Again.”

Memorial Service for Wat Stewart

Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church
February 12, 2011

Memorial Service for William Watson Stewart, Princeton Class of 1945, long-time president of The Augmented Eight and co-founder of Spring Sing.

Nassoon alumni under the direction of Rich McGlynn, class of 1960, sing “Old Nassau” in honor of “Wat” Stewart, who also founded the Nassoon Alumni Association. He is also credited with designing the Nassoon tie, given to each senior upon graduation.

Several members of the Augmented Eight joined the chorus as Nassoon alumni: Scott Watson, Jim Cavanaugh, Rick Bond, and Michael Collins.




The Inauguration Revisited (Singing at the VP Bush Reception)

Review by Gary Trudeau

The Reagan Inaugural in DC in January was a star-studded event.  Jack Sloat arranged for us to sing at the VP Bush Reception – Reviewed later by Gary Trudeau in the Hartford Courant, 1/25/81. (Excerpts by GOFJ)

“… Halfway around the world, the hostage story was coming to a full boil, and scores of frenzied correspondents in a half dozen foreign capitals were jamming the available satellite circuitry to capacity.  Nothing in their past experience prepared the news producers for these careening converging stories …..

At the National Museum of History and Technology, .. Approximately 17,000 of these faithful, patiently queued up outside for a glimpse of the pride of Greenwich…. The reception hall is really nothing more than a holding tank, to which several hundred guests are driven, without mercy, every 11 minutes.

While the startled celebrants are still looking around, blinking and wondering where they are, a fife and drum corps files out on a miniature stage and lets out a tiny blast of pre-Revolutionary martial music.  Instamatics are raised expectantly all around the room and then, right on cue, out pops the First Prep.

He gives a brief bubbly salute to the guests, thanking them with that special deference that successful candidates reserve for the little people, and then, with a wave, he’s off.  A few guests are so thrilled they actually applaud, but most dash for the exits to get their free souvenir scroll attesting to their presence at this event.  When the room finally clears another group is herded in and it starts all over again. ..

During subsequent shifts, Bush calls on his wife to say a few words, which he sometimes does, depending on whether or not she can get to the mike before the fife and drum corps strikes up the exit march. … And so it goes for 3 ½ hours. …

Between speeches, another act is getting a workout – the Augmented Eight, a group of local businessmen who occasionally dress up in rep ties and gray flannels to warble Cole Porter ditties and Ivy League fight songs.  For the occasion they have penned some original lyrics.

Since your guide is of a generation that rarely misses an opportunity to inspect song lyrics for hidden meanings, you are encouraged to examine the following closely:

“Gotta get movin’, gotta get goin’,

Sew a button on my vest,

Gotta look my best,

Bush is back in town.”

So far so good.  But then ….

“Bush ain’t goin’ home for eight more years,

And if I’m lucky he won’t go home at all.”

Eight more years?  Dare we dream?  The audience is transfixed, blocking the entrances.  The Augmented Eight go for broke:

“Can’t be bad to feel so good ….”

We look at each other knowingly.  This weird little group of aging whiffenpoofs has just said it all.

Can’t be bad to feel so good.  And feel good they did.  One hundred thousand of the faithful, the cream of which had made it impossible to rent a limousine in Atlanta or New York, let alone anywhere in the greater Washington area.  The streets from Capitol Hill to Georgetown were lousy with long, black automobiles arousing envy and resentment with every light they ran.  If they weren’t being sleek, they were gliding up the curbs.  When they weren’t double parked, they were triple parked.  If in Los Angeles you are what you drive, then in Washington you are what you were driven in.  Limousine fever.  Limos as large as condos.  Limos with swivel chairs and wet bars and screening rooms.  And for a pittance more, perhaps, a custom motorcade, with your own motorcycle escort, private ambulance and mobile SWAT team.  Can’t be bad to feel so good.

15th Anniversary Preparations

18 September, 1964

Dear Augmenteds,

It’s fall again and time to sing again.

This year will mark our l5th Anniversary. While I do not propose any undue sentimentality about this milestone, it is a rather formidable fact that we remain viable if not intact. What I am really saying is that this would be a particularly unfortunate year to stop singing together.

If the thought has run across any of your minds during the long summer (and it has crossed my own), banish the thought. I feel strongly that we can yet enjoy each other’s weekly company, make occasionally satisfying musical sounds, double up over Wes! and Louie!s jokes and brighten up the lives of sundry audiences.  I’d like to try, anyway.

I have a specific, not-too-ambitious, proposal to make regarding the 15th Anniversary celebration–we can talk about it and other ideas-

Wednesday, September 23rd, 8:45 P.M.


. . . at my house — 3248 Rittenhouse Street, NW.  Best regards, I’m looking forward to seeing you all after the hot hectic summer.

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