History and Auditions
Amherst College's oldest continuous a cappella group, The Zumbyes was formed in 1950 by a group of eight ambitious and talented freshmen who were more interested in Jazz than in traditional collegiate repertoire. During the group's first year, the charter members practiced nightly in the basement of Stearns Dormitory. It was then that, in the midst of a search for a distinctive name, Steve Miller, charter member baritone, pulled "Zumbyes" from a hat. And it stuck!
From the very outset, the Zumbyes have adhered to the philosophy that blend is the single most important element of small group singing. Today, the Zumbyes continue to arrange songs with energy, complexity, and significant jazz influence. In addition, the group's long history allows it the luxury of drawing on tried-and-true Jazz favorites that have been arranged, written out, and kept safe by talented Z-Alums over the past few decades.
A Zumbyes concert is more aptly called a show - our performances are constructed equally around musical fare and irreverent humor. Called "the most dangerous a cappella group on the planet" by the New York Times, every performance is an opportunity to devise new ways to entertain; our shows are famous for their skits, comedy, and audio-visual spectacles.
The Zumbyes hold auditions once a year, at the beginning of each academic year. Auditions are open to all Amherst College students who love to sing and would like a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a brotherhood of talented singers.
Sign-up sheets with timeslots will be available in the lobby of Arms Music Building.
We ask all auditionees to prepare the following:
- Your funniest joke!
- An audition song that demonstrates your solo voice and your performance abilities!
- And of course, a great attitude and a smile. We're interested in getting to know you as a person as well as a singer!
Absolutely no singing experience is necessary. See you at auditions!