Haveners A Capella Group Opens for Radio City Rockettes

Chloe Miller, Co-Culture Editor

The Villanova Haveners opened for the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Radio City Music Hall.

The Haveners were the University’s first all-female a cappella group and are one of the eight groups on campus. The group was established in 1963 and is the sister organization of Villanova’s all-female choir, The Villanova Voices. 

This year was the fourth time the Haveners performed on the Radio City Music Hall stage. Although the Haveners only sang one song before the Rockettes’ performance, they made it count. The song this year was “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” The preparation for the big event occurred weeks in advance.

The process starts with song selection, where group members send in suggestions,” member Kayla MacKinnon said. “After the group decides on a song one or two of our arrangers arrange/co-arrange the song. We then start learning it, memorize it, then perform it.”

All of the Haveners’ performances, including at Radio City Music Hall, feature original song arrangements by the group members. Leading up to Radio City Music Hall, the Haveners held three practices each week. 

For many Haveners, performing at Radio City Music Hall and opening for the Rockettes is a dream come true. 

“It feels like you’re famous, you go to the stage door and your name is on a list,” MacKinnon said. “We are then whisked away to warm up, take pictures, and once we get into the theater, are directed where to go. Getting on stage is an unreal experience. Not only is the stage huge, but the theater is probably the biggest venue I have ever been in.”

Havener member Stephanie Gentile echoed MacKinnon’s sentiments and included that “it’s wonderful to be surrounded by people we love, while we do what we love.”

Although performing at Villanova remains exciting, the Haveners’ performance at Radio City Music Hall was even more special. The venue is much larger than the stages the Haveners typically perform on, and the holiday spirit is in full swing. 

“The entire process is so much fun,” MacKinnon said. “Starting Christmas Music in October definitely helps to get excited about the Christmas season. Being able to prepare music for people outside of Villanova is great performance experience, and is at the heart of what Haveners is about: performing and having fun doing it. We take so much pride in our arrangements and performances, so it is great to see the payoff at such a huge venue.”