Still harmonizing after all these years: Silver Chord Bowl marks its 40th anniversary

The Amherst College Zumbyes, an a cappella group that began 1950, will perform at the Silver Chord Bowl in Northampton Feb. 11. It’s the 40th anniversary of the competition.

The Amherst College Zumbyes, an a cappella group that began 1950, will perform at the Silver Chord Bowl in Northampton Feb. 11. It’s the 40th anniversary of the competition. Image from Northampton Arts Council Facebook

The Smith College groups POCappella and Blackappella will perform at the Silver Chord Bowl in Northampton Feb. 11. It’s the 40th anniversary of the competition.

The Smith College groups POCappella and Blackappella will perform at the Silver Chord Bowl in Northampton Feb. 11. It’s the 40th anniversary of the competition. Image from Northampton Arts Council Facebook

The Northamptones, the a cappella ensemble from Northampton High School, will perform at the Silver Chord Bowl in Northampton Feb. 11. It’s the 40th anniversary of the competition.

The Northamptones, the a cappella ensemble from Northampton High School, will perform at the Silver Chord Bowl in Northampton Feb. 11. It’s the 40th anniversary of the competition. Image from Northampton Arts Council Facebook

By STEVE PFARRER

Staff Writer

Published: 02-08-2024 3:21 PM

The 1980s witnessed the start of what have become some longstanding artistic landmarks in Northampton: the Young@Heart Chorus, the downtown New Year’s Eve festival called First Night Northampton, and a good-natured competition involving collegiate a cappella groups, the Silver Chord Bowl.

In fact, the first Silver Chord Bowl took place in 1984. So this Sunday, Feb. 11, the a cappella contest will mark its 40th anniversary when several college singing groups (and one local high school group) take the stage at John M. Greene Hall at Smith College.

This year’s concert, which begins at 2 p.m. (doors open at 1:30 p.m.), will feature a cappella groups from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York, including two linked ensembles from Smith, POCappella and Blackappella, as well as the Amherst College Zumbyes, a group first formed in 1950.

Rounding out the competition are groups from Tufts University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Connecticut.

Also making their traditional appearance at Silver Chord are The Northamptones, the popular all-vocal ensemble started over 20 years ago at Northampton High School by former NHS music teacher Beau Flahive.

The Silver Chord Bowl, produced by the Northampton Arts Council, is also something of a community event, as it will be jointly hosted by Steve Sanderson, event producer for the Arts Council; Smith College President Sarah Willie-LeBreton; and Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra.

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Advance tickets are $35 for premium assigned seating and $15 for general seating; those prices rise to $40 and $20, respectively, for tickets sold at the door the day of the show.

To order online, visit freshtix.com/events/silver-chord-bowl, or call 678-701-6114.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.