In a cluttered, loud, synth-ed up world, a cappella music is one of the most unique and rewarding performance styles.
It is easy to listen to and a little old-school classy. A university steeped in tradition, USC is just the kind of place an a cappella group could thrive.
We have just one male a cappella group on campus: The Carolina Gentlemen, less formally known as “The Gents.”
As the school’s oldest a cappella group, The Gents are making a push towards relevancy while still honoring the organization’s history.
Tanner Mills is a third-year elementary education major and president of The Carolina Gentlemen. He says that while they will still be heavily involved with on-campus events, The Gents would like to seek more opportunities to perform throughout the community. This could include places like elementary schools, retirement homes and homeless shelters.
“We’re doing more of a push to go towards more philanthropy … more outreach, try to spread joy and stuff like that,” Mills said.
In previous years, The Gents have been called upon to perform at USC functions, sorority chapter meetings and for President Pastides himself, and they will still continue to do so.
“I guess it’s trying to keep a culture of what they used to do while trying to add some new stuff as well,” Mills said.
The Gents understand that it is important to roll with the changes. You can see it in their music too, as they’ve shifted to more contemporary songs that their audiences know and can really enjoy.
The Gents recently wrapped up fall auditions and will hold another round in the spring. Comprised of just 13 students, the group likes to keep its numbers small and its quality high.
“We’re a smaller group,” Mills said. “We want to try to focus on … a really good group of guys instead of a big group of just mediocre guys.”
And this is probably why the Gents are close. They practice regularly twice a week but spend plenty of time together outside of rehearsal.
As for planned events, The Carolina Gentlemen will likely have two concerts this fall and perform at sorority chapter meetings weekly. They are also actively looking for potential partner organizations in Columbia in order to solidify their mission of giving back to the community.
“We want to be more than just a group that sings,” Mills said. “We want to do everything we do with a purpose.”