An “Un-frog-ettable” Daily Special Brings A Capella Lessons to Lower School
When singing songs about cheeseburgers, noodles, and cookies, it’s hard to not have fun… or get hungry! This January, Lower School chorus students were treated to a unique performance held in the Debbie Goff Library. The four singers of the barbershop quartet Daily Special came to Moses Brown to dish out about a cappella ensembles that included singing, dancing, costumes, and of course pizza after working up such an appetite!
The group, featuring members Isaac, Ben, Cay, and MB Lower School music teacher Chad Putka, is an a cappella vocal quartet based in southern New England. Daily Special takes pride in their goal of being model citizens of the a cappella world, sharing their music and leadership skills with their communities. They came to Moses Brown School to share with students their love of a cappella music, performing silly songs such as “My Shiny Teeth and Me,” “Plain Plate of Noodles with a Little Bit of Butter,” and “Horace the Horse.”
With education still top of mind, the quartet spliced in lessons about how a cappella and barbershop quartets work. They demonstrated how every member of the group has a specific role: lead, tenor, baritone, and bass, and each showed how they sing the same lyric but on different pitches.
“The lead part, or the melody, is the part that sounds most like a regular song. Once we start to add other parts to the lead, you form the unique barbershop quartet sound,” said Chad, who is the lead in the quartet.
A student asks what the whistle is that is blown before each song begins. Chad explained how a tool called a pitch pipe is used.
“As the pitch pipe guy, Ben is in charge of knowing which key each song is in and what note he is supposed to blow into the pitch pipe at the beginning of the song. This is how we all know which note we need to start on and it helps make sure we start in key.”
For the grand finale, Daily Special came prepared with an un-frog-ettable performance. The group had a quick costume change and came back transformed into green frogs, hopping around the library. The frogs performed their short musical, “Phantom of the Hopera,” which included songs such as “A Frog, A Frog (parody of Applause, Applause),” “Eat a Fly (parody of You Can Fly),” and “This Frog.”
Chad and the group then invited the chorus students to sing along with them. One student group was asked to start singing, “Sing a Song to Welcome the Day” first, with the second group starting the same song a few seconds after, forming a round. The groups continued and Daily Special joined in as well, adding a third part. Everyone was able to take part and share in the joy of music together. Thank you to Daily Special for making chorus class such a “special” occasion!