The student weekly of St. Olaf College
Manitou Messenger: Agnes a cappella welcomes new members

Agnes a cappella welcomes new members

By Annie Ashby
Arts Editor
Friday, May 9, 2008

Move over, Limestones -- the glass ceiling of St. Olaf a cappella has been shattered. Agnes, the female a cappella group on campus, is loud, proud and bigger than ever.

This year, the founding members of Agnes, who make up three-fourths of the group, are graduating. This made the Agnes spring concert, held April 27, especially sentimental. The graduating seniors, new members and history of Agnes were highlighted in a slideshow put together by former manager Kelin Loe '08.

According to Loe, Agnes has greatly matured over its four years of existence.

"There was no female a cappella group [at St. Olaf] before Agnes, so during Week One freshman year, my friends and I decided to start one," Loe said. "We began with a single fan, Mark Forsberg ['08]."

Judging by the attendance at the spring concert, the Agnes fan base has greatly increased.

The spring concert showcased the wide range of Agnes' talent, moving between sweet folk songs and catchy pop and rock tunes. The selections ranged from Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby," with a soulful solo by Alissa Broz '08, to Rufus Wainwright's mellow "Hallelujah." Many of the works were arranged by Agnes members and friends.

A crowd pleaser was a cover of Cake's "Never There," in which Loe soloed and danced around with a giant inflatable phone. And you haven't seen beat boxing until you've witnessed vocal percussionist Miriam Samuelson '08 break it down in "Never There."

Another fast-paced wonder was a cover of Annie Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass." Laurel Schone '08 got her solo groove on against a cheerful backdrop of do-woping and da-daing.

A tender favorite was a folk song arranged by Loe, "Homeward Bound." Featuring bell-like chiming from the choir, it was definitely the tearjerker in the set. Finally, the 2008-2009 Agnes members were introduced, singing in public for the first time. Their selection was Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song." "About a Boy," anyone?

Though Agnes has only existed for four years, the story behind its name involves a rich St. Olaf history. The first female professor and first female student were named Agnes Mellby and Agnes Kittelsby, respectively, as was the prominent Agnes Larson, of the dorm namesake. With such a wonderful history embedded in the name 'Agnes,' it's surprising it hasn't made a comeback.

As well as a rich history, Agnes can look forward to an exciting future. The group held its first-ever auditions this year and has gained much popularity and acclaim. Loe hopes that Agnes will grow and flourish for many years to come.

"I better come back for the 20-year anniversary of Agnes, with teens in tow," Loe said.

The Manitou Messenger is a student publication of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. It is published weekly during the academic year except during vacations, exam periods and interim. The cost for one year's subscription is $45.00. Postage is paid in Northfield, Minnesota. Manitou Messenger
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