It’s not every day that you get to open for the Rockettes, live at Radio City.
The Quaker Notes, Penn’s premiere all–female acapella group, can attest to this. In addition to that gig, opening for Pentatonix, and other performances that fill their weeks—alongside long hours spent memorizing music and rehearsing—they have had a busy schedule this year. All of it, however, has led up to this past weekend, April 19 and 20—the group’s 40th anniversary and the featured show of the year. Titled “Cheers to 40 Years!," the girls have been perfecting their vocals for a memorable weekend of shows. They are, after all, an integral part of Penn’s history, and have worked to make sure their work remains memorable.
The president of The Quaker Notes, Kimmy Halberstadter (C’20), and Robinson Creighton (C’19), the group’s past business manager, both joined as freshmen, and said watching the group grow has been an incredible experience. This year has been unforgettable for the singers: “We’ve incredibly grown—I mean, we opened for the Rockettes!” Robinson stated, smiling. The opportunity to perform at the Christmas Spectacular came to them as a surprise, when the group was contacted after their YouTube video of them opening for Pentatonix was discovered. “It was kind of cool to see how one thing, which we had thought was our peak, lead us to something much, much bigger,” Kimmy said. They travelled to New York City the day after everyone’s last final in the fall, and said the performance was surreal. It brought the girls to a new level of closeness, standing on the Radio City stage in front of an audience unlike anything before.
Robinson emphasizes that one important aspect of The Quaker Notes is the strong alumni support system that comes with it. It's incredible, she said, to watch previous members come back and recount their memories of singing for the group. "We've been receiving pictures of the past groups in tuxedos when they perform, and it's just like wow, Quaker Notes bonds us for a lifetime." Many still sing and dance to all of the words of the girls' alumni song, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Members' bonds to The Quaker Notes are timeless.
This semester, they’ve been looking forward to and working towards their 40th anniversary production, which featured ten songs with each of the members featured as soloists at least once. It was clear how well their combination of talent and practice intermingled as the singers gave a clear, vibrato–riddled sound with each piece. A stand–out piece was the group performance of “Halo” by Beyonce, featuring Robinson as the lead. The emotions the girls were feeling about their exceptional year coming to an end rang true through the audience as they sang about being so attached to something you cannot let it go, and made the performance memorable. By the end of the final song, everyone in the Iron Gate Theater had picked up the melody and was humming along.