A fixture on campus since 1971, The Girls Next Door (adopting a more modest position than the synonomical stars of an E! show) have functioned to the formula of the a cappella: powerful soloists assisted by layered harmonies and backing vocals. However, that is not to their detriment. The group has always found strong voices able to carry various songs and styles. On Friday, though, they will reconfigure that strong repertoire to the sounds of a full backing band for a new-age Cabaret performance.
For members Kim Kozel and Hannah Newman creating the event has been a challenge.
“We have to coordinate with a lot more people,” Newman said.
“The hardest part has been the band,” Kozel added. “It’s [required] a lot of extra time because you have to have separate rehearsals from the girls.”
Playing with the singers was stop-start at a rehearsal, as the musicians attempted to find a good balance between singer and music. Still, the band sounded loose and adaptable, comfortable either with the finger-picking of The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” or playing the straight lounge of Feist’s “Gatekeeper.” Those unlikely choices will be buttressed by songs from Whitney Houston, Jamiroquai and some parody songs, Kozel said.
Finding the good mix speaks to a larger goal of the show.
“With this show we’re trying to focus on our performance, improve ourselves as more performers than singers,” Kozel said.
Belying the fact of the Girls Next Door’s adaptability, (what does an a cappella group need to perform other than themselves?) is the fact they are at heart a formal singing club, more akin to the finer-tuned ear than the scruffy and collegial denizens of the Canopy Club.
That situation influenced the song choice and the layout of the show.
“We’re trying to cater to the college and Canopy Club audience, as opposed to the general cabaret audience, because we don’t really have that to pull [from] here,” Newman said.
Ultimately, the success of the show, as opposed to their others, will be born out of those that come out and see it. For Newman it should be easier than usual.
“The atmosphere and where it’s being held leads more people to come and spend their Friday night [seeing us there] as opposed to at Gregory Hall.”