Their signature green jackets, heavenly voices and impromptu performances around campus; the Singing Men of Ohio, or SMO, are surely recognizable on campus considering their well-known reputation, but do you truly know the 66 men who comprise the chorale ensemble?
Come Halloween, They’re a Scary Sight
Ever gotten frightened at Halloweekends by the terrifying monsters? The face behind the mask could have been one of our very own of Singing Men of Ohio. Since the group does all of its own fundraising, every year the boys pack up and head to Cedar Point for two entire weekends to work as midway monsters as their biggest fundraiser of the year. Decked out in full costume, the boys spook, dance and entertain park patrons during Halloweekends.
Spring Break Doesn’t Consist of Lounging on the Beach
Every year for spring break the boys pack up and head out on their spring tour. In the past they’ve traveled to Boston, New York City, Pittsburg, Chicago and Nashville to perform. As of now, Hilton Head Island, Savannah, Georgia and Nashville are all on the radar for potential stops. The boys perform at local churches, schools and community centers.
“I wouldn’t still be at Ohio University if it wasn’t for SMO”
Halfway through freshmen year Singing Men of Ohio President Ray Wolfe had already been accepted and ready to transfer to Ohio State. Being three hours from home, Wolfe didn’t really have a good feel for Ohio University and the students. However, all that changed after he went on tour with SMO and changed his mind, deciding Ohio University was where he truly belonged.
“SMO is the reason I’m still on campus, if it wouldn’t have been for SMO then I can’t imagine me going elsewhere and transferring, especially somewhere like Columbus,” said Wolfe. “I’m glad I started in SMO my freshmen year or else I probably wouldn’t still be here.”
16 Make up Section 8
Apart from regular weekly SMO practices, sixteen guys pack on four hours’ worth of weekly practices as a part of Section 8. The acapela group was formed to go where SMO doesn’t fit; if an event can’t hold all 66 members or if the occasion calls for a different genre Section 8 gets to shine. The group of sixteen guys are auditioned out of SMO and usually performs more contemporary, popular music.
They’re More Than Just Acquaintances
From spending hours on end together on tour to practicing up near four hours per week, the boys become more than just good acquaintances.
“I don’t think people realize how close we all get, especially when we go on tour. When you’re on a bus with fifty guys for hours at a time, the craziest stuff happens,” said Wolfe. The close connection that is formed definitely shines through at the performances.
“When we go onstage we gel as a group and are able to really make music not just because we’re good musicians but because we know each other well and are able to sing through each other,” said Wolfe.
For more information and upcoming events visit http://www.ohio.edu/smo/
-Ashleigh Mavros, Events Publicity Assistant