Since members of Bowdoin's newest a cappella group, the Longfellows, have been perfecting itheir range since October and finally have their first performance March 10, they've achieved almost an "underground status" around the campus. To this claim, Willi Yusah '08 responded, "What, like underground rap?"

Keirnan Willett '07 had a different take on the group's standing. "It's nice. Every February we come outside, see how long our shadow is, and then run back down."

If underground rap has become the new, fresh face of the hip-hop world, maybe the Longfellows will bring that same originality to Bowdoin's a cappella scene, as long as they're not afraid of their shadows. "We have a completely different approach towards performance and rehearsals," said musical director Glen Patrick Ryan '07. "Our music isn't always pop rock. We perform 16th century madrigal songs, a 19th century Scottish traditional ballad, jazz and rock standards, contemporary ballads, and classic rock. We basically cover 500 years."

Last semester, the Longfellows became what Tommy Long '06 called an "All-Star Team" of singers, which included Ryan, Yusah, Willett, Long, Mike Darman '06, Sam Chapple-Sokol '07, Alden Karr '07, Mike Nugent '07, Michael Peiser '07, and Jon Rollins '08. "There were a lot of guys on campus who wanted to do this, and the number of groups on campus couldn't compensate for the interest," said Ryan.

With plenty of singing experience?eight members are in other a cappella groups, and six are in Chamber Choir?Long isn't far off in his description. The group finally settled into its final form about a month ago when Darman arrived. "This kid here," said Yusah, slapping Darman on the back and doing his best Ali G impression, "is the last piece of the puzzle."

"We really enjoy singing together, seeing what sounds we could produce. There's so much unique talent," said Peiser. "No one knows how much effort we've put in."

The group isn't afraid to enjoy itsrehearsals and goof off a bit. Yusah broke into a remix of the traditional ballad "Aura Lee," and the group compared Rollins to Paul McCartney because "he's the cute one," and debated the worth of a Peiser rookie card if there were Longfellow trading cards. "It's a release from work," said Darman. Chapple-Sokol added, "Since Glen does all the work, we don't have to think. We usually try to distract him when he's playing piano."

Regarding the group's debut on Thursday, Ryan said, "At this point, we're not limited by public opinion. We define our own identity. It makes debuting that much more exciting."

Thanks to an opening performance by Miscellania, and the emergence of a new group, that debut promises to be an experience.