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Velvetones perform at prestigous Nashville venue

November 20, 2013

Stephens a cappella group, The Velvetones, had a chance to perform this month at The Bluebird Café, a prestigious music venue in Nashville.

The ensemble joined the Queen of Hearts, an all-female band performing in The Round—the café’s famous central area where musicians sit surrounded by audience members. It almost seemed like a “flash mob”  when members of The Velvetones began singing in the middle of the group’s performance of “Everywhere I Look I See Love,” said music instructor Tom Andes.

“It was fun seeing the look on audience members' faces,” he said. “After a while, though, it became clear that this had been rehearsed.”

“It was really fun,” Chelcie Abercrombie ’16 said. “We rehearsed the day of the performance. We had practiced listening to their CD in class, but we didn’t learn our parts until right before we went to the theatre. That was a little nerve wracking.”

The song went off without a hitch, and the audience loved it, Andes said.

After the song, Helen Lewis Moore ’77 introduced the students and gave them an opportunity to sing a snippet from their a cappella version of Winter Wonderland.

The Bluebird Café is known for focusing on the songs rather than full-scale performances, something The Velvetones aren't used to, said Katie Paulter ’14.

“That was a different kind of venue for us,” she said. “It’s about the music and songwriting. That was a cool perspective. It was like singing along with friends.”

During their visit to Nashville, The Velvetones also performed at an alumnae brunch Moore hosted at her home.

The Velvetones first worked with the Nashville-based Queen of Hearts when the band visited campus last semester, hosting workshops and putting on a public concert.

“The two groups instantly bonded and had a lot in common—in particular the love of storytelling through the art of singing,” said Pam Ellsworth-Smith, music instructor.

The “queens” have since become role models, Andes said.

“You can tell how much they rehearse to blend that well—and that’s something we work on all the time,” he said. “They’re great role models for our students.”

The Queen of Hearts performs regularly at The Bluebird Café, which hosts both well-known and up-and-coming performers. The venue is also featured in the ABC hit drama “Nashville,” which stars Hayden Panettiere. Panettiere’s mom, Lesley Panettiere Vogel, is also a Stephens alumna and attended college with Moore.

Other Velvetones who went included: Emy Blake, Emily Chatterson, Shannon Cox, Emma Marston, Ryan Tucker and Mycah Westhoff.

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