Though the University has 16 a cappella groups, 58 Greene is confident they are a little different.

The group, founded in the basement of East Quad Residence Hall in 1993, was named after the room in the East Quad where the founding members began practicing together. Since then, the co-ed, multicultural group aims to use their varying backgrounds to create a unique voice.

“Multiculturalism has always been what we are and also something that we strive to promote through music performance,” said 58 Greene Director Jillian Gray, an LSA senior. “That has been the main component of our legacy for the past 21 — almost 22 — years now.”

While Gray acknowledges that other groups value diversity as well, she said they are the only a cappella group on campus that identifies multiculturalism as part of their brand.

Gray added that their musical performances often aim to raise awareness of social justice issues. 58 Greene performs annually at the MLK Children and Youth Day program on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

But the group has quirkier traditions, too.

“Part of the ritual of starting every rehearsal is slapping the butt of the person next to you,” Gray said. “We send it around, and then we send it back around every single rehearsal.”

This tradition is meant to loosen up everyone before rehearsal.

“It’s funny and lightens the mood and makes you comfortable with people really quick even if you weren’t before,” Gray added

The Greenies, as members call themselves, have an competitive yet informal fall audition process. The process has the typical roundup of musicality tests; among them are vocal warmups, test ranges, sight readings and a solo audition.

“Auditions are definitely intimidating and a little scary,” Gray said.

Gray said there is also a secret component of tryouts.

“The final part of the audition is something only we do and it’s a way in which we get the personality out of people,” Gray said. “We aren’t just concerned with whether or not you can hold a tune but want to know ‘do we want to spend 10 hours a week with you in rehearsal’ and can you have fun with us.”

LSA sophomore Jin Kim, 58 Greene member, said the 58 Greene community is an important aspect of her life at the University.

“58 Greene is my family,” she said. “It is easy to get lost and feel lonely at such a big school, but Greenies have made me feel a part of a caring community.”

Kim added that 58 Greene is diverse yet united in their passion for music.

“We are such different people,” Kim said. “People of different race, background, gender and preferences, but we come together to create great music and more importantly because we care for each other.”

LSA senior Schuyler Robinson, 58 Greene musical director, expressed similar sentiments about the a cappella group.

“58 Greene is incredible because it not only supports individual voices, both in and outside the group, but also harvests unity amongst this incredible group of people,” Robinson said.

The 17 Greenies perform twice a year in the fall semester concert in December and again for a spring concert in summer. Gray said they retire songs every three semesters and pick up four new songs so that each concert showcases a different set of songs.

The guys and girls have a chance to compete within 58 Greene with their annual tradition of a guys-versus-girls sing-off during the fall concert.

“We make a little competition out of it,” Gray said. “We rehearse separately and secretly for the whole semester and then we come together a week before our concert and perform for each other. And we always try to outdo each other. We are a co-ed group so it’s fun for us to sometimes split up.”

In spite of the battle of the sexes, the group is close-knit — extending beyond their years at the University. At a recent reunion, more than 50 alumni came to Ann Arbor from all over the country.

“Alumni (are) a huge part of our legacy,” Gray said. “We really pride ourselves on really maintaining connections.”

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