Stony Brook’s all-male a cappella group, the High C’s group and concert. (Efal Sayed / The Statesman)

The phrase, “Who are the High C’s?” is rarly uttered on campus. With explosive talent and an impressive campus presence, even the most clueless freshman has likely heard of the all-male a cappella group. The real question is, how did these guys become the thought-provoking, toe-tapping force that they are today?

Before you could like them on Facebook, follow them @SBHighCs or read about their daily doings on their blog, the High C’s were simply “a group of talented guys who just wanted to put on a good show.” That was 2003, the year the group was founded. In 2007, the boys released a recording titled “Changing Tides.” “Changing Tides” was reviewed as average at best by the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB). The RARB harshly criticized the group for its youthful sounding voices and unoriginal track list. Undeterred, the boys took the advice of the RARB and began working harder and adding a few fresh, daring songs to its repertoire.

A few years later, the group finally had its formula for success down cold. In fall 2009, the High C’s officially became a recognized club at Stony Brook University.

Following up on this success, the official Stony Brook High C’s club popped off in the spring of 2010 with hot new material.  Some of these tracks included “Uprising” by Muse, “Cupid’s Chokehold” by Gym Class Heroes and “Can’t Stop” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Testing some of these new songs out at the Tabler Gala that February, the boys seemed to find their niche.

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Winding down the spring 2010 semester, the boys performed at the SUNY Potsdam Pitches 3rd Annual 2010 A Cappella Invitational. The High C’s were joined by Potsdam’s Pitches, A Sharp Arrangement and a very excited crowd. Performing tracks such as “Closing Time” by Snow Patrol, “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, the High C’s connected with the crowd and had fun with the performance. The group also has an intense Youtube video titled “THIS IS AMIT – Insane beat boxing skills,” which features an intense  beat boxing clip from this awesome show.

A lot of this success owes credit to the members who created the High C’s unique arrangements. Roy Lotz, a junior anthropology major, has arranged such tracks as “Trashin’ the Camp” by Phil Collins. Likewise, Solomon Husain, a sophomore and  High C’s current president, created the High C’s arrangements for songs like “If I Fell” by Paul McCartney. Husain is known as a very funny and talented vocalist, soloist and, of course, the newly elected High C’s president for the 2011-2012 school year. Lotz, who was featured in the Statesman Arts and Entertainment section last February for his one-man band, is currently studying abroad in Kenya. This accounts for his notable absence on the High C’s scene this fall, but, luckily, he’ll be back in time for the spring.

In the meantime, the High C’s are still in full force and have some very exciting events coming up. The boys just got back from an a cappella conference and workshop called SoJam and were thrilled to hear that they’ve been selected to compete in Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. The Varsity Vocals is the only international tournament that showcases the art of student a cappella singing. Each year, this tournement happens over the course of four months: January to April, and it takes place in six regions: West, Midwest, South, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Europe. After several weeks of quarterfinals, the top finalists are invited to compete at the semi-finals. The victors are then invited to perform in the finals at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where they compete for cash prizes and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

The High C’s have been defining notes at Stony Brook University for the better part of the last ten years. But are they grand champions? Whether or not they make it to the finals at Lincoln Center, they’ll keep performing and working to master their craft.  As long as they keep singing, the Stony Brook students will keep listening.

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