Dartmouth Aires host Winter WhingDing event Saturday night

Sheba, Sugarplum and Tufts Beelzebubs also to perform

by Melanie Prakash | 2/8/18 12:10am

Winter WhingDing is an annual a cappella show offered through the Hopkins Center of the Arts as a part of Winter Carnival programming. Each year, the concert is headlined by one of the various a cappella groups on campus. This year the Dartmouth Aires, Dartmouth’s oldest all male a cappella group, will be hosting the program.

The Aires are widely recognized from the group’s local performances in the Upper Valley as well as domestic and international tours. In addition, the group boasts several albums featuring songs from a range of genres. Each a cappella group works arduously to set its own “group tone” to stand apart from the many a cappella groups on campus and entice others to watch. High-energy performances, according to the group’s members, define the Aires’ reputation.

“[What’s] really cool about the Aires is that we really try to give an energetic performance,” Michael Harteveldt ’19 said. “No standing still for the most part unless we mean to.”

When asked if that statement pertained to the audience or the singers, members Macguinness Galinson ’21, Harteveldt and Manny Howze-Warkie ’18 unanimously responded, “Both.”

“We try to keep high energy with both movement and with our vocals,” Harteveldt said.

Galinson added that the energy is also conveyed through their dress. A defining aspect of the Aires’ image is the members’ loud fashion choices. While they do have more formal wear — called “Conservo Trou” — their more casual “Fun Trou” is especially memorable for its bright colors and clashing designs.

“The running joke is that if you were colorblind and pattern-blind, we’d be very well dressed,” Harteveldt said.

Most Dartmouth a cappella performances are hosted by various Greek houses during the school year, and the Aires’ are no exception. While informal and enjoyable, these concerts are also not widely accessible to the immediate community. Winter WhingDing is a platform for groups to reach a wider audience.

Howze-Warkie defined the Winter WhingDing as “a holistic experience.”

“[It’s] something you can bring your whole family to, so whether it’s students coming because they want a break between Winter Carnival festivities or your parents are in town and you want everyone to come or [you] are just a resident of the Upper Valley, we have something for everyone in the show,” Howze-Warkie said.

Howze-Warkie said the Aires aim to challenge the average perception of college a cappella through this upcoming performance. For instance, the Aires plan on utilizing a format of each student holding a microphone, symbolizing the idea that each individual holds an valuable part of the group, Howze-Warkie said.

“What people have in mind when they think college a cappella may be very basic and not that appealing to them necessarily,” Howze-Warkie said. “We sort of want to subvert that stereotype and present something that’s very fun to watch, very engaging.”

The Aires will be joined onstage by dance troupes Sheba and Sugarplum and another all-male a cappella group, the Tufts University Beelzebubs.

“Most WhingDings don’t have that many groups,” Harteveldt said. “It’s a really great opportunity to not only see the Aires perform but also set a great tone to your weekend.”

Tufts Beelzebubs president Davis Franklin said he was eager to return to the Dartmouth campus, citing the unique energy of performing on college campuses. Franklin performed at Dartmouth as a younger “Bub” during his sophomore year.

“The Bubs and the Aires have a really, really great relationship,” Franklin said. “We love singing together but we don’t get to do it often.”

Franklin said that only about half of the members have been to Dartmouth to perform before, and only an informal setting with approximately 50 audience members. In comparison, Spaulding Auditorium seats over 800.

“We’re really excited to do a ... performance for a big audience,” Franklin said. “That’s the kind of stuff we like doing.”

The Aires teased some surprises planned for the evening.

“We’re not going to guarantee it, but we’re pretty much going to guarantee some laughs ... it’s going to be a funny event,” Galinson said.

Howze-Warkie said the surprises may include some topical commentary.

“There will be a very great musical moment and that’s all we’re going to say,” Howze-Warkie said. Based upon the current campus climate, it will go over very well.”

Galinson said that the Winter WhingDing performance offers a chance for audience members to step inside from the cold and have a night of fun.

“[Winter WhingDing is] a very energetic, cheerful kind of thing ... in the middle of winter, which for me is really sad,” Galinson said. “If I could watch the Aires, I would.”

The Aires will host the Winter WhingDing concert in Spaulding Auditorium on Saturday. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the general public.