The campus knows them, loves them, and arrives at their concerts up to an hour before doors open to guarantee they get a seat.
A cappella is a part of Bowdoin—a big part—and last night, it got just a little bit bigger.
On Thursday night, 16 members from Bowdoin's six a cappella groups trekked through the pouring rain to Moulton Union for their first conference of the year.
The goal last night: to make final decisions on who the newest members of the six groups would be.
"This is a wonderful day for the a cappella council," one group member lightheartedly said after his group was able to leave with its final list after just ten minutes.
Seated around a large conference table, representatives from each of the groups took turns reading off their prepared lists of first-choice additions.
In a few cases, two or three of the groups had overlaps in their decisions.
After discussing the overlaps as a council, a neutral member from another group stepped out into the hallway, and telephoned the person in question, who would then have 15 minutes to decide between the two groups before calling the council back.
One group, though, had made their decisions with no possible alternates, presenting a potential problem when another group had listed one of their choices on their own list.
In the spirit of true teamwork and council membership, though, the groups talked about it together and explained why they wanted each particular person.
In the end, one group sacrificed the sought-after singer to the group that had listed no alternates.
"This is going really smoothly," remarked one member after the dilemma was avoided.
The relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the room lasted throughout the entire meeting, with no dramatic or intense "who gets who" arguments.
But that is how a cappella culture is at Bowdoin according to member and business member of the Bowdoin College Longfellows Alex Jacobs '12.
"People just want to support each other," said Jacobs in an interview on Tuesday.
It was a competitive process, though, as each group's audition blocks were almost completely filled both Monday and Tuesday night. In the end, 21 people have become the newest members of the a cappella community.
"It's always tough. It's frustrating," said Ursus Verses member Julianne Farrar '13, of the audition process.
None of the groups went into the process with a determined number of open spots, though voice parts and gender were taken into consideration in some cases.
BOKA member Daniel Jeong '12 explained the importance of remaining gender-balanced in a co-ed group and how that affects what the group is looking for.
"We obviously had a certain number of seniors that graduated," but, he said, "we are just looking for the best singers," said Jacobs.
Though there were not set quotas, member of the Meddiebempsters (Meddies) Cal Pershan '12 explained that the Meddies tend to be a smaller group.
"The most we would take would be four and the fewest we would take would be two," he said in an interview on Tuesday.
The process behind a cappella auditions is about more than a just a good singing voice, though, according to a number of people from the various groups.
"Some people have amazing voices, but they don't have the ear," explained President of the a cappella Council and BellaMafia member Amanda Gartside '12.
Farrar explained that to audition for Ursus Versus, hopefuls had to prepare a three-minute solo, have their ranges tested, and, finally, complete exercises like finding the middle note in a chord.
"It's really about their ear and whether they can blend into a group," said BellaMafia member Jennifer Horng '12.
For many of those who auditioned, the vocal tests were what helped a few of the groups determine who would be called back on Wednesday night for a second round of auditions.
And finally, only one day later, the groups came together with their new lists, ready to begin another season of a cappella on campus.
On the popularity of and support for Bowdoin's a cappella, Jeong said, "It pleases a wide range of people...every group has their own type of genre that they sing, a different type of vibe that they give."
"A lot of the appeal is hearing pop songs done by your friends...It's cool, it's pretty novel," said Pershan.
Said Gartside, "A cappella is a fun thing on campus...everybody likes music...it's a good thing to congregate around."