The Loreleis, founded in 1981, have done a great deal in our 30 years! Check out our “La-Story,” which is a compilation of the memories of numerous Loreleis. Bits and pieces are missing, and we welcome Loralumn input to fill in the blanks! Please email Annie Poole at email@example.com with any info.
First, a little background — Gretchen Steiger (La ’82) enlightened us with the following email…
I was one of the eight founding members of the Loreleis, way back in the fall of 1981. My mailbox has been inundated with bits of more recent Lorelei history, and I thought I would add a little background. A junior named Sarah Klemmer was the one to get organized and name the group. The almost lurid image of the Lorelei really appealed to several of us who had sung in a cappella groups in high school — and sang way too many songs about being the 1950’s happy housewives who would do anything for their men. Our first performance was in October 1981 for a Morehead Banquet. I think we were all a little shocked at the overwhelming response of our first few audiences. Some of our first songs included: The Lorelei, Too Darn Hot, Java Jive, and Sentimental Journey, interspersed with madrigals or something classical here or there. One of the thank you notes in my scrapbook described us as eight women who could sound like fifty, and that’s how I remember us — as all having strong voices that could still blend very well. Socially, we were a bit split between the more serious music majors and the non-music majors who laughed maybe too much. The music majors had a hard time believing that it was good for our voices to have a swig of Jack Daniels before a performance. From your email it seems that you all have had great times performing and I am so excited with how well you’ve done. I’m so amazed that the Loreleis are still going strong and thank you for keeping the group going after so many years!
The memories had to be organized somehow, so we’ve done it by year. The first few years (1981-1983) are a little fuzzy, so we’re starting out with 1984.
Here’s a tidbit of Lorelei history– in 1984, the Loreleis were defunct. That’s when Sarah Bickley (LA 86) revived the group, with the help of one of the members of the original group. Rah was President & Music Director. That group (call it Loreleis II) sang around campus in the pit, at dorms, and at fraternity and sorority houses to generate publicity. We hosted our first concert with the Harvard Din and Tonics and UNC Clefhangers. Lorelei was the theme song and we wore brightly colored shirts and berets.
We sang a few songs at the dedication of the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center on January 17, 1986. The following day, we sang the National Anthem at the first game ever played at the Dean Dome, both days dressed in tuxedos and colorful Chuck Taylor converses. We also sang the National Anthem at the dedication and opening of the UNC Natatorium, celebrated with a leap into the pool. Later that year, we traveled to D.C. to perform at a private party, later singing at bars in Georgetown. Shari Russell was the music director.
The Loreleis signature all-black dress came into being in about 1986. Until then, we were wearing black and white… and sometimes other stuff. Also in 1986, we started adding percussion to some (though not all) of our songs. More la-story… Singing more contemporary music was totally the influence of Margaret Moore (Music Director of that year and La ’88), who arranged “Leave It” and “The Lion Sleeps”. She was largely responsible for transforming the image of the group. Thanks Margaret!
The La-Lady (our mascot of sorts) began as the cover decoration for one of our concert programs. Laurie Watel (Music Director of that year and La ‘89) drew it with the input of one of her roommates at the time, Zoe Parker (not a Lorelei, but a big fan). Everyone liked her so much that she then became our mascot. Also, we sang with the Red Clay Ramblers at their 15th anniversary concert, had a jam with the Duke Pitchforks and the University of Vermont Topcats and later had a jam with the UVA Hullabahoos in the spring of 1988. Also that spring, we did a northern tour for spring break visiting Brown University, University of Vermont, Middlebury College and Groton School.
Fall concert in Old Playmakers Theatre… We opened the concert by strutting out on stage, one by one, to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” (Mary Beth’s idea.) That spring we somehow managed to procure Hill Hall, following a “beer can in the green room” incident from a few years earlier that was supposed to have banished us for life. Our first tape, Lorelei, was recorded in the spring of 1990 and released that summer. We recorded it in one day in Daniel Ingram’s basement, standing in two lines facing forward (loud mouths in the back!) with two floor microphones. Back then we thought it was really cool to intersperse random snatches of conversation from the recording session in between the songs. It made for a lot of confusing inside jokes!
Fall Tour 1990, also affectionately called the 2,600 miles in 4 days Tour! Siren Song, our second cassette, was recorded on Spring Tour 1991 somewhere in Delaware. We took two full days. Again, we insisted on doing the random conversation thing. (Did we finally decide that random is or isn’t funny??)
The first Fall Jam was in 1991. We ventured out on our own (at this point, we were still thought of as the “female clefs”), did the first ever Two-Night Jam, and it was a huge, smashing success. Spring Tour to the Northeast, 1992. We don’t remember many details — Yale, Princeton, NYC, Tufts, etc.– but it was definitely the beginning of a long tradition!
On the Rocks, our third cassette, was produced. Spring Tour to Chicago– cut short by the blizzard of the century! On the Rocks won CASA’s Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA’s) in the female collegiate group category for Best Album, Best Song (“Tangled”), and Best Arrangement (“Road to Nowhere”, by Nancy Ingram).
Stranded, our first compact disc, was produced.
We spent our Fall Break on tour in Chattanooga, TN. Stranded won CARA’s in the female collegiate group category for Best Album, Best Song (“Save the Best for Last”), and Best Soloist (Susan Frankfort). Spring Tour to the Northeast– five new piercings and one tattoo. (Oh, and lotsa gigs too…) “Save the Best for Last”, off of Stranded, is included on CASA’s first Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) compact disc.
Fall Tour to Jacksonville, Florida! “Dreams”, from Smitty’s Place (then un-released) was included on CASA’s BOCA 2. Smitty’s Place, our second compact disc, was produced in January of 1996. Another Spring Tour to the Northeast! This one was hectic, but made worth it when… Loreleis traveled to New York to compete in CASA’s First National Competition of College A Cappella on April 14th at Lincoln Center and WON!!!!!!!!! We were the only all-female group to compete! The morning after, as National Championships, we performed En Vogues’ “Hold on to Your Love” on CBS’s Good Morning America. Yeah, we were exhausted to the point of delirium, but– damn, we looked good. Special thanks go out to Carmen and Alex Hooker, who made it all worthwhile.
Loreleis were again included on a BOCA album– this one was volume three, and the song was “Thieves in the Temple”. Fall Tour to Richmond, Virginia. Smitty’s Place got CARA’s for Best Arrangement (“Dreams”, by Catalina Joos) and runner-up Best Album, Best Song (“Smooth Operator”), and Best Soloist (Susan Frankfort). Yet another Spring Tour to the Northeast– but, they were all worth it, we promise! The Loreleis returned to CASA’s National Competition of College A Cappella– this time in Carnegie Hall — and were the only group from the previous year to do so! While in New York, we also appeared on NBC’s Today Show.
The First Annual Loralumn Reunion took place over the weekend of Fall Jam in Chapel Hill, at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Stumpf! (Loreleis ROCKED the show both nights, by the way.) A live cut of “St. Theresa”, performed by Melody McDaniel (La ‘97) during the CASA’s 1997 NCCA Championship, was included on CASA’s Yearbook ’97 compact disc. You go, girl! 116 Chauncey Street, our third compact disc, was released in the Spring.
The Second Annual Loralumn Reunion took place over Fall Jam in Chapel Hill, at Dr. Stumpf’s (Loreleis rocked both nights again!!!) Loreleis went on tour over Fall Break to Williamsburg, D.C., Baltimore and UVA (time for Hullabahoos!) 116 Chauncey Street was nominated for CARA’s – Best Album (116 Chauncey Street), Best Song (“Fame” – Whitney Moore, “Full of Grace” – Shoshanna Silverman), Best Arranger (Whitney Moore) and Best Soloist (Shoshanna Silverman). We went on an awesome Caribbean cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Aboard the Leeward, we visited Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. Coming back nice and tan was so different from years past spent touring the Northeast.
Loreleis go International!! Spring Tour to Paris, France. We were also invited to sing with vocal legend Bobby McFerrin.
The Loreleis entered our 23rd year as UNC’s premiere female a cappella group. In November 2003, we won first place in the first ever SoJam, an a cappella festival featuring the biggest names in collegiate and professional a cappella (Go Las!). Catherine Cheng won the award for best vocal percussion. Groups came from all over the South. Judges included Sean Altman (founder of Rockapella) and Andrew Chaikin (founding member of the Housejacks). In January 2004, we were featured on CBS News Sunday Morning in a special about the expansion of college a cappella. On April 2, 2004, we released our newest CD, entitled Take a Big Whiff.
On Wednesday, October 13, 2004, Loreleis sang the National Anthem at Yankees Stadium during the second game of the American League Championship Series. They also performed a short concert for Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner and actor and comedian Billy Crystal. While in New York City, they visited Trump Towers and serenaded Donald Trump.
Loreleis win 1st place in the ICCA South Region Divisional at Florida State University! We won awards for Best Arrangement (Kat Dunbar and Delia Darney- “Heartbreaker”), Best Soloist (Amanda Bolch- “Vindicated”) and Best Overall Group! Senior Elizabeth Wright wins CARA Best Female Collegiate Soloist for her work in Take a Big Whiff’s “I Don’t Want You to Go”!
On Wednesday, February 25, 2009, the Loreleis opened a concert for Ben Folds at the Durham Performing Arts Center. They are also featured on Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella, an album that Ben Folds released in 2009 after evaluating many submissions made by groups across the country.
Loreleis released an album titled Philophony which won the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for Best Female Collegiate Album. Megan Bailey also won Best Female Collegiate Solo for “Death by Chocolate.” The album was also nominated for Best Female Collegiate Song (“Battlefield”) and Best Female Collegiate Arrangement (Marianne Cheng and Sofia Leon for “If Tha Mood”). We were the only female group to be nominated in all four categories!
Loreleis had our first ever Fall Retreat weekend to the beach (Mary Sisson’s idea!). We later traveled South for Fall Break visiting Clemson, Emory, and Georgia Tech. On Saturday, February 5, 2011, we placed second at the Southern Quarterfinals of International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) at the University of Georgia. In addition, Marianne Cheng won Best Soloist for “Misery.” We went on a cruise to the Bahamas for Spring Break.
Loreleis had our second annual Fall Retreat in Wilmington this year. We later traveled north to visit William &Mary, Saint Anne’s Belfield School, University of Virginia, Saint Christopher’s School, Saint Gertrude High School, Georgetown, and James Madison University for Fall Break. For Spring Break, we spend a wonderful week on Anna Maria Island in Florida! On March 24, 2012 we released our album, A Kick & A Wallop, just in time to celebrate our 30th anniversary!
Loreleis had our third annual Fall Retreat in Myrtle Beach. Our Fall Tour included trips to Virginia Tech, UVA, St. Anne’s Belfield School, and several other wonderful schools up north. After Fall Tour, we began preparation for ICCA’s, at which we advanced to Semifinals in Nashville, TN and won “Best Arrangement” for “DNA” (Mindy Roth). Our Spring Break took us to Costa Rica!