Being part of a Bates a cappella group is fun — no question. But the fun has a function, says Kelly McDonald ’19 of Whately, Mass., a member of the Crosstones, part of the college’s thriving a cappella scene.

“It’s a great way to connect to people, a great way to learn about myself, and to learn about my friends.”

This video by Theophil Syslo features Crosstones interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and performances over the last two academic years, including the group’s Back to Bates concert on Oct. 6.

An a cappella audience, such as the jam-packed crowd that saw the traditional Back to Bates concert in October, experience a polished performance. But each minute reflects hours of work.

Newcomer Nana Ankomah Baffoe ‘22 of Accra, Ghana, had the solo in “Sleep” by Allen Stone, and he was nervous about hitting the last note, the highest of the solo.

“I always get scared about that last note,” he said. “And when that note comes out, when you hear the applause, it’s such a relief,” he says. “But at the same time, you think, ‘I still want to sing! I don’t want to get off stage!'”

“I get so much joy out of the group. It’s just really fun to feed off the happy energy,” says Zach Collester ’19 of Shillington, Pa. “The things that I reap from this group are endless.”