Founded in 2001, the Undertones are a co-ed a cappella group from Northwestern University. While we pride ourselves on maintaining a very high level of musicianship, we are also a group of friends who love to sing and laugh together and love the work that we do. Our members hail from all over the place and study in every major school Northwestern University has to offer.
In addition to our mainstage shows every year, we do gigs all over the Chicagoland area. Just this past year we've sung at sorority events, local schools, fundraisers for other student groups, and charity events for Dance Marathon, Habitat for Humanity, and others.
The Undertones tour nationally and internationally. Previous tour locations include Barcelona, NYC, Miami, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Boston, and Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2016, we traveled to Washington D.C. and sang at The White House. This past winter, we traveled to Orlando, Florida!
Here’s us in Barcelona in December of 2017!
CARA nominated, ICCA award-winning, and regularly featured on various a cappella media like the Mouth Off! podcast and The A Cappella Blog, the Undertones consistently demonstrate excellence in competition. We won our 2015 ICCA quarterfinal and, additionally, Eliza Palasz took the award for Best Soloist. In 2007, we won our ICCA Quarterfinal as well as Best Choreography, and in our 2010 Quarterfinal and Semifinal, we won Best Arrangement. In our 2012 quarterfinal, Matt Kania won Best Vocal Percussion. More recently, casa.org users nominated the Undertones for Favorite Mixed Collegiate Group.
In our most recent round of ICCA participation, The Undertones placed second at the 2018 ICCA Great Lakes Quarterfinal and Lucy Godinez, soloing on "Taking Chances" in the set, received the award for Outstanding Soloist. Check out some photos from our ICCA adventure below!
Additionally, you can watch the entirety of our ICCA award-winning set from the Great Lakes Semifinal competition at Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL below!
The Undertones have released five studio albums. Our album"Rock Paper Shotgun," released in 2013, was nominated by the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Society for Best Mixed Collegiate album. The album's opening track "Plain Gold Ring" (arranged by Matt Kania and Laura Winters, featuring soloist Eliza Palasz) was nominated for Best Mixed Arrangement and Best Solo and was included in the compilations "Voices Only 2013" and CASA's "sing 10: neon." The track "Gunpowder and Lead" was nominated for Best Mixed Collegiate song, and the track "Bluebird" was selected for "Voices Only 2014."
“Boots and Cats," one of our previous albums, has also received positive recognition from the a cappella community.
Robert Dietz, vocal coach and arranger for NBC’s The Sing-Off, noted that the arrangements are, “some of the best I’ve heard from the collegiate community,” and Singstrong Executive Director Jonathan Minkoff commented that, “you can just tell that these singers can fill the room and sing to the last person in the last row.”
Our recording of "Before the Worst" was selected for inclusion on the album "BOCA 2011: Best of College A Cappella 2011”, RARB (The Recorded A Cappella Review Board) listed “Eet” as one of the Songs of the Year in 2011, and Matt Edmonds’ arrangement of “Before the Worst” was nominated for a CARA (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award) for Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement.
Although the bulk of our time together is spent rehearsing, performing, and recording, the Undertones are also a close group of friends who love spending time with one another and keeping the fun and silliness alive in the work that we do!