Harry Guilfoyle is the President of Speak of the Devil, Duke's all male vocal ensemble. We caught up with him earlier this week to find out a little bit more about Speak and the President himself.
How did you get into singing?
I've been singing for as long as I can remember. I think it comes from my mom, every night as she cooked dinner when I was young she would be singing, I'm pretty sure I inherited it from her. I sang and acted in plays and musicals through middle school, but once I got to high school I focused solely on singing. I was the president of my high school all-male a cappella group and I was also a member of our schools chamber singers, which was an invitation-only group. We actually got to perform at the white house over christmas break my junior year which was an awesome experience. Singing has always been a passion of mine.
What is your favorite part about Speak of the Devil and what sets it apart from the rest of the acapella groups?
Without a doubt, my favorite part of the group is the camaraderie. Singing is what brings us all together, but group members regularly hang out outside of rehearsal, and it really is a sort of small brotherhood. Nobody in the group takes themselves too seriously and we always put emphasis on enjoying ourselves, and we think that mindset is reflected in the way we perform. All too often a cappella groups are described as "emotionless" in their performances. We never want our audiences to react that way, so we always put a huge amount of energy into the way we perform. Quite simply, we love to have a good time both on and off stage, though we never forget that the music is always what comes first.
How does someone get involved with Speak of the Devil?
Well, we actually just finished our fall auditions. Students are encouraged to sign up for an audition spot right after the orientation show, so unfortunately our formal audition process is now over. We do generally have auditions late in the spring for any guy who is interested in joining the group. Anyone with any specific questions about joining the group can also always email me at email@example.com.
Will you be pursuing singing after you graduate?
I'd really like to if I have the time. My stepbrother is a fellow Duke graduate and Speak alum, and he's currently working in Denver and actively trying to find a singing group he can join. One thing that Speak alums always say is how much they miss singing on a regular basis, so I'd really like to see what sort of options there are out in the real world for someone like me. I don't have my plans for next year nailed down yet, so right now I'm focusing most of my energy on finding a job, and hopefully when that is all figured out I can search around for another singing group to join.
What is your favorite song to sing?
This is a tough one. We recently debuted a lonely-island medley that the whole group absolutely loves to sing. Besides that, our Backstreet Boys medley has consistently been a hit, especially with our sizable female audience. We also sing a song called Faded that is sort of a Speak classic, I know for a fact that the group has been singing it for at least 10 years. It's hard to chose one but those would be my top three.
What are your next events/what are you excited about for this semester?
Speak is looking to have a breakout year. We're at the beginning stages of recording our first album since 2007, and we'll be working with a recording company called Liquid 5th that specializes in a cappella groups and will be opening a brand new facility dedicated to a cappella recording and production in just a matter of weeks. That's definitely going to take up a lot of our time but it's something we're incredibly excited about. Beyond that, we're in the process of learning new material in preparation for our fall break tour that will take us up and down the east coast. We'll also be doing a show in the Blackwell Arch on East Campus sometime in the next couple of weeks to show off our new freshmen members and give them a chance to perform in front of their friends. We're always available for dorm shows, birthdays and pretty much anything else where an a cappella group might be desired. Again, anyone who wants to book Speak for a show can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.