A Hullaba time
Student a capella group makes its motion picture debut
For years students have heard them perform on Grounds, clad in floppy bathrobes and crooning their way into our hearts. This year, the Hullabahoos will jump out of the University's concert halls and onto the big screen in the comedy "Pitch Perfect."
The film is set to be released this summer and is loosely based on a book of the same title written by Mickey Rapkin in 2008.
Rapkin's book focuses on three American college a capella groups - the all-male group "Beelzebubs" from Tufts, the all-female group "Divisi" from the University of Oregon and the beloved Hullabahoos of the University.
"Rapkin followed us on tour, wrote down about the experiences, and added bits to make it a good story," Hullabahoos' Business Manager Nick Cafero said.
The group was not originally included in the cinematic adaptation.
Hullabahoos President Sanford Williams said the group got a part in the movie after repeatedly contacting film producers.
After learning about the project last summer, Williams emailed the producers for months without reply. "Finally we got in touch in October [and] in November, we went down to Baton Rouge, La. to film," he said.
The group traveled down together for a day of filming, alternating drivers with 16 people wedged into a seven-person RV, Cafero recalled.
Although the book follows the Hullabahoos more closely, the film focuses on two competing a capella groups from the same school, one all male and one all female. The Hullabahoos appear in one scene, in which they play a group competing on the finals of an a capella championship.
For its scene, the group performed in its characteristic cloth robes on the auditorium set in front of acting extras.
"What makes us stand out visually is the robes we wear," Cafero said. "We gave the new guys robes in front of the fake audience right before filming."
The group recorded a song specifically for the film, the 1986 rock classic "The Final Countdown" by Europe.
Cafero said he was unsure whether the other two music groups featured in the book were also going to be featured in the upcoming movie. "We were the only real a capella group there - other groups were acting as extras," he said.
Although the Hullabahoos didn't work with any other college a capella groups, they did meet a few celebrities acting in the film. "We got to meet up with Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow, which was pretty nice," Hullabahoos member Charlie Miller said.
When asked why the Hullabahoos, out of all the a capella groups in college campuses across the country, were featured in both a book and an upcoming film, Cafero, Williams and Miller all mentioned the close friendships between members.
"We are the group of best friends that sing together," Miller said. "I think our music is definitely ranked top in the country, but it's more of our group dynamic that sets us apart."
Williams also attributed their success to good luck. "I feel like we were just kids aspiring to get involved in a big thing, and it actually worked out," he said.