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Melody and Mirth Mark a Milestone for UC Men’s Octet

by D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs
posted Mar. 4, 1998

The golden harmonies of the UC Men’s Octet have been a staple on campus for 50 years. To celebrate a half-century of antic-filled a cappella, the group is presenting a gala spring concert Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, at 8 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium.

Octet alumni from around the country, including founding members, will be on hand to share memories of their years with the group.

Traditionally, the spring show is a chance for the Octet to sing new arrangements never performed by past groups. This year’s show includes tunes from the Jackson 5, Beach Boys, Madonna and West Side Story.

The Octet started as an offshoot of what was then known as the UC Glee Club. Eight senior men from this group, who also sang together as Cal song leaders, created the Senior Men’s Octette in 1948.

Oski the Bear and the Straw Hat Band were also created that year, making 1948 a banner year for Cal spirit.

Initially, the club was exclusively for seniors, but admission opened up to other classes when recruitment became difficult, hence the name change to UC Men’s Octet.

Through the years, the Octet has become a ubiquitous part of university functions. In addition to campus events and private parties, the group spans the globe spreading the gospel of Berkeley tradition. Past travels have taken its members to jolly old England to entertain the London chapter of the California Alumni Association. This year the octet hopes to go to Australia.

The group has also produced several CDs. “Eight Misbehavin’,” their current release, can be purchased at the spring show and is also available at the ASUC. Tickets for the spring show are $12 general and $6 students and can be purchased at the Zellerbach ticket office or by calling 642-9988.

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