VU’s The Spires prepare to rock out

Hannah Misner

The Spires, the oldest a cappella group on campus, have evolved tremendously throughout the years since its formation in the ’50s. Initially a barbershop and folk singing group, The Spires saw a stylistic change during the ’60s under the leadership of members Jim Croce, producer Tommy West and Tim Hauser of The Manhattan Transfer. The all-male group is a selective subgroup of the Villanova Singers that “used to include guitars and vocals, but is now strictly a cappella,” Executive Director Steve Guerrini says.

Despite being the oldest group on campus, The Spires have a unique contemporary sound and style. “We specialize more in beat-box stuff than the other groups,” Guerrini says. “We consider ourselves performers more than just singers.”

The vocal performances incorporate choreography and a comedic skit, which is usually planned at the last moment. Guerrini and Musical Director Joe Hawkins both emphasize the group’s enthusiastic performances.

“The soloists will even go out and get in the audience’s faces,” Guerrini says.

Hawkins divulges some of the group’s plans for the upcoming Acappellapalooza. “All of the songs are really different,” he says. “There is no underlying theme.”

However, The Spires tend to concentrate on modern rock music and in the past have performed such songs as “The Bad Touch” by the Bloodhound Gang, “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. and “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” by Big & Rich.

“Our set for Acappellapalooza will include a mid-’90s rock medley,” Hawkins says.

Although they perform most often in the greater Philadelphia area, The Spires have also branched out from Villanova. Guerrini and Hawkins recall performances in California, Canada, University of Delaware and Fordham University. Not only do they travel to perform, but other schools travel long distances to perform with the reputable Villanova a cappella group. A group from Stanford University is scheduled to come to Villanova to perform with the Spires sometime in March, and a larger spring concert will be held on April 13 with three guest groups from three other schools.

If you miss any of these performances, The Spires are planning to start recording a CD at the end of the school year, which they hope will be available next fall.