UVM Top Cats

                  Everyone on campus knows who they are. From the pressed suits and swoon-worthy harmonies to their rolled up pants and bare feet, we have all had a little crush on a member of the Top Cats. Being the lucky girl I am, I got to meet with the five officers of UVM’s only all-male acapella group and ask them about their music and interests. If sarcasm had a font, this article would be full of it. The interview with the boys was full of jokes, making fun of each other, and lots of laughter. Their brotherhood and bond was evident right from the start and they had me smiling the whole time.

Sarah: Before we get started, why don’t you all briefly describe your role in The Top Cats?

Michael: I am one of two co-music directors. Aaron and I run rehearsals, teach voice parts, do warm-ups, and we also choose our songs. It’s also our job to make sure sound systems and microphones are correctly set up for each show.

Aaron: Michael and I have slightly unique roles in that I do more of the piano aspect of things while Michael does the vocal training. So he does more of the “hey guys, sing like this” and I do more of the “hey, this is the chord we are going to sing.”

Bill: I am the president. A lot of what I do is internal affairs, just being present when there are questions about protocol, being a safety net whenever someone needs extra help, and I am the alumni point of contact.

Ragnar: I am the business manager of the Top Cats, so I handle everything that could possibly be equated to logistics. I book rooms, handle any sort of affair that deals with money, book all the gigs, and I also manage the YouTube account.

Reed: I am the outreach coordinator. First of all, I organize social media and social events for the Top Cats to help us connect with other a capella groups, other groups on campus, and other groups in the community. I am also in charge of marketing and graphic design for the group and general promotion.

 

Sarah: What was the most fun show or activity you have done with The Top Cats?

Aaron: Oh, spring break. That’s easy. We went on a tour of Puerto Rico over break and we sang in this really beautiful space in a military fort and it had these humongous high ceilings and big stone walls that created this beautiful resonance when we sang one of our songs, “Lost”. All the harmonies just popped and everyone in the fort could hear us.

Bill: I’m going to add my favorite concert is our Halloween show. Everyone in the audience dresses up and we host a costume contest and it always results in a lot of silliness.

Ragnar: We also got to arrange the Scooby Doo theme song which was cool.

 

Sarah: What’s your favorite part about being in an acapella group?

Bill: I don’t like it.

Michael: I love singing but it’s fun because it’s interactive.

Reed: It’s a family.

Michael: Being able to sing at any point with your acapella friends and it being 100% okay, in fact encouraged, is amazing.

Ragnar: My favorite part of the whole experience is the comradery. I remember after getting into the Top Cats it was like, “Wow, I have twelve new best friends”.

Michael: It went from zero to twelve…

 

Sarah: Who is your musical inspiration?

Michael: Tori Kelly… also John Mayer…

Bill: Paul McCartney

Aaron: Chris Thile and Duke Ellington

Ragnar: Freddie Mercury, hands down.

Reed: Tom Waits

 

Sarah: What’s your favorite song you have ever sung as a group?

Michael: “Lost”

Reed: “Fix You”

Ragnar: “Lost”

Aaron: I can’t really pick one, but I really liked “If I Ever Fall in Love Again” which we sang my freshman year.

Bill: I like “Roll, Jordan, Roll”

 

Sarah: Describe the Top Cats in one word.

Bill: Fun… I know it’s a lame word but it’s true.

Reed: Brothers

Aaron: Supportive

 

Sarah: Finish the sentence, “If I weren’t in the Top Cats, I would be…”

Michael: Sad… dead... lonely.

Ragnar: Boring

Aaron: I would be not as good of a singer.

Reed: I’m sticking with dead.

Bill: Lonelier

 

Sarah: What flavor ice cream describes your personality?

Michael: Coconut Seven Layer Bar

Bill: Everybody’s favorite ice cream

Aaron: New York Super Fudge Chunk

Ragnar: Definitely Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Reed: …Gelato

 

Sarah: What is one thing you can’t live without?

Bill: My heart.

Michael: Singing and music.

Aaron: Music.

Ragnar: Yeah, music.

Reed: Oxygen.

 

Sarah: If you could live in a different time period, what would it be?

All five: I’m happy with this one.

Michael: That’s a more fun question for girls. We’re like, “In all practicality, this one’s fine.”

 

*At this point in the interview, the boys began to interview themselves. Silliness ensued.*

 

Bill: What’s your spirit animal?

Aaron: Otter, easy.

Michael: I’m definitely a bear.

Bill: I asked this question and now I can’t think of an answer…

Reed: You’re a donkey.

Michael: No, no… you’re a “burro”.

Bill: What’s that?

Michael: It’s the Spanish word for donkey…

Bill: Okay, I can be a Spanish donkey.

 

Bill: If you could write an article for HerCampus, what would it be about?

Michael: I’d write it about why “Odds Are” is a great game for all genders.

Reed: I would interview Tom Sullivan.

Bill: Oh! I would interview Rally Cat, like a spoof piece, where he doesn’t say anything.

 

Aaron: Ninjas or Pirates? Remember when that was a huge debate?

Michael: Honestly there’s no question, ninjas are the obvious choice.

Bill: It’s like asking, would you rather be a dirty criminal or a guy who fights for justice?