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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Stony Brook’s Songstresses: The Pipettes

    Getting on a stage and performing in front of other students is just another day for the all-female a cappella singing group, the Pipettes.

    “When we perform, it’s an amazing feeling.” said Liz Trincone, a sophomore undecided major and a soprano one in the group. “It’s something that we work so hard for and it gives you such a rush.”

    In recent years, the Pipettes have recognized their growing popularity on campus and have certainly been making the most of it. So far this semester, they’ve preformed at events such as the Seawolves Showcase, the Chinese Association at Stony Brook (CASB) singing competition and the Sigma Beta Honor Society’s talent show.

    The president of the group, Julia Clunn, a senior double majoring in German and English honors, thinks that their popularity may have to do with the large influx of dedicated girls that joined last fall.

    “We also added a second practice in, and the additional time has made the girls even better,” Clunn said. “We’re getting pretty booked. It’s exciting! Now we get e-mails from people and groups with no specific affiliation with us. We’ve even had to turn people down. But it feels nice to be wanted.”

    Clunn also thought that their increased popularity could have something to do with the number of choir group themed television shows that have been aired lately. “In the past couple of years, shows like “Glee” or “The Sing-Off” have concentrated on the group aspect of people who share a passion of singing. It’s different than just a singing competition like “American Idol.” Lots of high school students watch these shows and see how fun it is. And girls are a lot more enthusiastic to join these groups.”

    The Pipettes take pride in promoting student involvement on campus. “We work really hard every week so we can give something back to people for a variety of different causes whether it’s on or off campus,” said Trincone. Last year, the group preformed at Relay for Life, where they not only sang but also raised over $500 for the charity.

    “In the past, we’ve done a lot of community service with our voices. We lend our voices to the community,” Clunn said.

    Deepanvith Kanagala, a sophomore majoring in biology and business, was an audience member at two of the group’s performances this semester. “It’s really good that they’re taking initiative on campus and making the campus more lively,” said Kanagala. “I’m pretty sure on those nights they preformed, people came out just so they could see them. They’re definitely getting more students involved when it comes to attending events.”

    Even the group’s name, the “Pipettes,” is centered around Stony Brook University.

    “The other girls hate this story because they think we should just tell people our name came from how we’re girls and we have little singing pipes; it’s cute. But, it was the semester I joined [2007] that we didn’t have a name. The group was still small and it just started the semester before. So we were throwing ideas for a name around. I personally wanted us to be called ‘Pitch Slapped,’” Clunn said. “But that idea got voted down. We decided on Pipettes because you know it sounds cute, but also because this is a really big engineering and med school for undergrads, and they always have to use the little pipettes.”

    “During our audition process, after we’ve finished auditioning somebody, we’ll always ask them if they have any questions for us. Normally we get questions like ‘When do you rehearse?’ or ‘How long have you been together?,’ but this year, almost every time someone said they had a question, it was ‘Why are you guys called The Pipettes?’” Clunn said.

    The singing group has come a long way from when it was created in spring of 2007.  Then there were only six or seven girls, and they only had one song to perform. The group now consists of 16 girls, and its song repertoire is now up to 10 songs. The songs vary from the punk-rock group “Paramore” to R&B/pop princess singer Mariah Carey.

    “The one song the first group of girls got down was ‘Always Be My Baby’ by Mariah Carey. That was the one song they had gotten solid by the end of the semester. It’s kind of become our signature song. Every time it comes on the radio all the girls just sing their part along with it. It’s a song we like to end with a lot,” Clunn said.

    Other than Stony Brook, the Pipettes have preformed amongst other a capella groups off campus. Last semester, they performed at Centereach High School and at an invitational held at Rochester Institute of Technology. The girls drove up to perform with the hosting all-male group, the Brick City Singers, and another all girls group, Aural Fixation, from Boston.

    “It was one of the best experiences.” Clunn said. “We had a road-trip, stayed at other a capella dorms and it was a lot of fun.” Trinconce also agreed, saying that the trip was her favorite memory so far and how the trip served as an excellent bonding experience.

    However, the Pipettes are not funded by the Undergraduate Student Government. According to Clunn, none of the a capella groups on campus are funded.

    “There’s always been a slight contention over why. Some people think it’s because we hold auditions which means not everyone can sing with us. But we have offered people before to continue to be involved in the group through media or song arranging,” Clunn said. “The other theory is because we discriminate based upon gender because we’re all girls. I mean, it’s rough not getting any financial help.”

    The lack of funding has not stopped the girls from continuing with what they love to do. “You can’t stop us from singing. We’re those people who will be walking down the street when somebody will say something and makes a reference and all of us will just bust out into song. Only with us, it’s burst out into four part harmony,” Clunn said. “We love to sing and to be around others that love to sing. It’s really nice after a 6:40 physics class to know that you can always rely on a four part harmony. It’s a complete and utter joy, and it’s something you can look forward to.”

    The Pipettes have some events coming up on campus. This Thursday they will be performing at an event at 8 p.m. at Mendy Café in Irving College, and on Friday the 18th, they have performances at SBU Heals and the Sig Rho talent show. And, for the first time ever, they’ll be having their “Winter Wonderladies” concert on December 2 from 8 to 9 p.m. at the Tabler Arts Center’s Black Box Theater.

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