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By Erin Rogers '01
Fifty years ago, a Colby junior named Janice"Sandy" Pearson asked Professor Peter Re' if she could start an all-female a cappella group. Re' approved, and the Colbyettes were born. On April 21 they came home, and Re', now retired, was there to listen.
Sixty past and present members of the group united in Lorimer Chapel for a gala of song and memories. Pearson, now Sandy Pearson Anderson'52, was there with two other original Colbyettes, Ginnie Falkenbury Aronson'53 and Carolyn English Caci'53. Six more members from the'50s were joined by eight members from the'60s, one from the'70s, 12 from the '80s, 15 from the '90s and 14 from the '00s. The groups were color-coded by decade, resulting in what sometimes looked like an a cappella rainbow.
Highlights from this emotional event included the resurrection of"Colbiana," a song written and arranged by Re'. All of the Colbyettes, with help from the men of the Colby Eight and another a cappella group, the Megalomaniacs, joined in singing this song, once in the middle of the program and again as a spontaneous encore at the end.
From "Hawaiian War Chant" to"Java Jive" and"Passionate Kisses," the songs performed in the Colbyettes 50th reunion concert reflected the changes of the past decades."We sang straight barbershop," said Kathie Flynn Carrigan '55. Ann Segrave Lieber '59 concluded that in comparison to their successors, the '50s women"looked nice but had no swing. . . . We just stood there with our hands in our pockets. You guys are up there shaking your tambourines."
The '80s 'Ettes were the ones really shaking their tambourines, drawing particular attention from the audience with their sunglasses, choreography and comedy. The '80s were wild, said the singers, but Eleanor Putnam Dunn '83 reassured the older Colbyettes, remarking,"We never got thrown out anywhere."
When the concert ended, the singing continued at a post-concert reception in the Roberts Building, where Colbyettes performed impromptu renditions of"Sentimental Journey,""California Dreamin'" and"Mood Indigo" with the Colby Eight.
Current Colbyettes Janice Greenwald '01 and Meghan McKenna '02 worked for months planning the reunion, recruiting past members, distributing music to alumni to rehearse at home."Janice has been thinking about this since before she was born," said Yuki Kodera '01.
Greenwald remarked that the concert met her considerable expectations."I really couldn't have asked for any more," she said.
After receiving two standing ovations during the concert, Sandy Anderson pulled aside Melissa Trachtenberg '99 (who performed her solo,"Why," with the '90s and '00s) to offer her own support."You have to do something professionally," Anderson said."You are wonderful."
That night the feeling was universal.
Diversity Call Renewed: Students, President Bro Adams, faculty and others join in effort to appreciate and accentuate differences.
Making Waves: An inside look at the news you love to hear--from Colbians.
A Simple Feast: Wylie Dufresne '92 is one of the hottest chefs in New York City.
President's Page: President Bro Adams on the court and affirmative action.
Alumni Reunion 2001
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