Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Trinity College Quirks perform at the White House

Isabel Monteleone ’16
Contributing Writer

The last few years have been absolutely monumental for the Quirks, the youngest of Trinity’s all-female a capella groups. Their latest high-profile performance, which took place over winter break, truly took this perfect-pitched group to a whole new level. On December 21st, the Quirks were invited to perform in Washington, DC in the White House Grand Foyer, where they delighted visitors from around the world and staff alike to take part in celebrating the holiday season. This musical treat, for both the groups that were honored to perform and the visitors themselves, has become an annual tradition at the White House. The Quirks, one of seven groups to be invited to perform this year, were thrilled to sing alongside youth orchestras, chamber singers, and other phenomenal groups. This incredible opportunity has continued to grant exposure for a group that has been filling Trinity’s campus with harmonious sounds and extending the group’s talents across the country.

Rachael Burke, a senior member of the Quirks and the group’s public relations coordinator, largely helped to make this performance possible. Burke says the Quirks were invited to perform at the White House back in November: “The performance was a culmination of our musical and personal progress as a group. It was amazing and inspiring to perform at our nation’s capital and definitely something we will remember for the rest of our lives. We current Quirks are so thankful for the founders of our group every day and were honored to have them join us at the performance in Washington.”

Molly Belsky ’16, a sophomore Quirk, who described the thirteen other members of the Quirks as “what has made [her] feel like [she] belongs at Trinity,” was beyond thrilled to be part of this opportunity to gain national exposure as well as reunite again with the group during winter break. Belsky had spent her Sophomore Fall at Trinity/La Mama, the New York City performing arts semester study abroad program. After having spent months apart from some of her closest friends, she says she could not have been happier simply for the chance to sing with the Quirks before returning back to Trinity for the spring semester. Belsky described the experience as “one of the best things that could have possibly happened. The Quirks were what I missed most about this place [Trinity] and it was the best way for me to re-acclimate to Trinity.” Belsky, like many other Quirks, has a strong bond with the group – this friendship they all share only adds to the reason why they click so well vocally.
The Quirks performed in the foyer of the White House for two hours, singing everything from holiday classics like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “Carol of the Bells”, and “Christmas Is All Around,” from the Love Actually soundtrack, to their standard set of angelic renditions like “Wagon Wheel”, “Bottom Of the River”, and “Royals.” Belsky, eagerly reminisced about the night they all arrived in DC, stated “when we started to sing for the first time, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling.” Collectively, the Quirks’ strong friendship, admirable work ethic, and natural talent put them in a great place for many more successes to come.

This White House appearance is but one of the many ways that the Quirks have made an impression in the a capella world since their founding as a senior project in 2003. In 2012, they opened up for a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, and have also performed with the Yale University Whiffenpoofs both in 2012 and 2013 at Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Connecticut. Additionally they have competed in the Silver Chord Bowl, an event that showcases the best collegiate a cappella groups in the nation. As one of Connecticut’s most publicized a capella groups, the Quirks have been seen on WNPR, NBC Connecticut, and in Connecticut Magazine. They’ve also performed at several events in Hartford, including this year’s Hartford Hodge Podge and the 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions at the Wadsworth Athenaeum. In addition, the Quirks were featured on the website of the UK magazine New Musical Express, and have performed with Grammy-winning founder of the Allman Brothers Band, Jaimoe Johanson and his Jasssz Band.

In recalling the various events and venues where the Quirks have performed, Belsky remarked, “it was so awesome to get exposure. I don’t know how we’ll top this…but the great thing about the Quirks is that we’re excited to perform anywhere. Being invited to perform at the White House was an incredible thing, but this isn’t the end for us.” The Quirks’ third studio album will be released this winter, but until then, be sure to look out for them in their upcoming concert for a capella tryouts on Friday, January 31st in Hamlin Hall, where you’ll have a front row seat to see this talented group sing!

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