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Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Ramblers make international debut in London
By Enid Arbelo
Ramblers by car
All 14 members of the Midnight Ramblers left Rochester on March 8 and headed to London where they spent spring break performing at venues across the city.
Members of a University all male a cappella group took their singing act overseas for the first time. The Midnight Ramblers spent their spring break performing and sightseeing in London, England.
Jeff Le ’07, of Rochester, has been a member of the Ramblers since his freshman year. He says a spring break tour is nothing new for them. During Le’s freshman year, the group traveled to Florida to perform at local venues and hold a capella workshops with local high school students.
“We want to reach out to more people and to be able to expand the music we create. That’s basically what it’s all about,” Le says. “Going to London is definitely a big step for this very young group.”
While the Ramblers, founded in 1998, are a relatively new campus a cappella group, in less than nine years they have produced six full length studio albums and have been featured on the nationally acclaimed BOCA CD (Best of College A Cappella). They also placed third at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Finals in April 2005. The group, which arranges its own music, was one of only seven collegiate ensembles—and only one of 18 worldwide—chosen to appear on the international a cappella compilation album titled Sing Three.
The most rewarding part of being a Midnight Rambler, Le says, is watching the group develop into the type of organization its founder envisioned.
“We are only nine years old and a lot of us have seen the transition of the group,” Le adds. “We’ve been gaining momentum over the last years.”
Matt Roe, assistant director, says this type of spring break tour fits perfectly with the group’s mission. “Our whole philosophy is that we want to always be pushing ourselves to go further and taking our school’s name to new places,” Roe says. “The next logical step was to try an overseas tour.”
One of the most daunting elements in planning the spring break trips are the financial costs, say group members. However, support from Alumni House, Admissions, and the Department of Music has allowed the group to grow and schedule performances in new destinations.
Other elements, such as planning the performances and managing logistics, proved more challenging due to the time difference and distance between the New York and England. Despite the complications, members were able to put together a busy schedule of performances at schools and churches around London, including St. Anne’s Lutheran Church.
Roe says the group decided to keep the schedule lighter than usual so members could take advantage of the opportunity to be tourists in London. “We scheduled about four or five gigs less, to do some sightseeing, because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Sample the band’s music and see a schedule of upcoming performances online at http://sa.rochester.edu/ramblers.
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