Back in the days of the 1950s, when Goucher was a women’s college, there were singing groups on campus that
sang only religious music. A group of students came together to rebel against this idea, and formed an a cappella group that sang secular music. Thus the Reverend’s Rebels , or simply, Rebs, were born.
Emily Clarin ’16, has been in the group since the beginning of her freshman year, which is a change from the madrigal (a classical singing group) she was in in high school. Clarin said that being in Reverend’s Rebels has “made me have to arrange music for the first time … in a different way,” putting the music arranging skills she previously had “to practical use.” Erin Manuel ’16, who is also entering her fourth semester with the group, said that arranging music is a “new experience” for her, and she uses Garage Band to record her voice. Inga Schmidt, who graduated last spring and is a former president of ‘Rebs,’ said “everyone is encouraged to try arranging songs … as a freshman I took a shot at it” and by her senior year was arranging most of the music. For Schmidt, this opportunity “gave me so much confidence.”
Reverend’s Rebels makes their decisions very democratically. Clarin said that the group votes on the songs they sing. Camille Muson ’16, who was recruited to audition after some older Rebs heard her perform at an open mic last year, is “an advocate for songs people know” because they better capture the audience’s attention. Manuel likes this process, especially because the group “makes it our own” and “Rebsifies” each song.
In addition to voting on songs, the group’s members also vote on who sings certain solos. Clarin explained that every girl who wants a solo for a certain song leaves the room, and that the rest of the group functions as a “jury” and votes on who gets the solo after each candidate performs it for the group. Even though Muson is the President of Rebs, she “likes that it’s not one person making a decision.” Rachel Durante ’16, who joined as a sophomore said, “everyone knows each other’s voices, and who will sound the best on a song.” Clarin remarked that “if someone’s meant to have a solo, that’s how it’s gonna be … the song finds the person.”
In addition to being an a cappella group together, the Rebs are also a close group of friends. Manuel, who went to an all girls high school, feel that being in this group “filled the gap…it’s a sister thing…I know I can absolutely trust them.” Muson described the group as being, “like a sorority without dues and getting dressed together.” Durante finds a “nice sense of community” within the group, as well as an “empowering” experience. Schmidt “made some of my best college friends through Rebs…[and] you know that all these girls are there for you.” Outside of practice, they like to have sleepovers and dinners together in order to further bond.