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A capella group uses underpass to perform

courtesy of catacoustic groove
Catacoustic Groove will perform tonight at 7 p.m. in the Olive underpass near McClellaland Hall.
By Erin Schmidt
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday September 26, 2003

Who knew underpasses could be so useful.

Not only do they provide a safe way for people to get from one side of the street to another, they apparently are the perfect place for a concert.

Catacoustic Groove, a seven-man a cappella group will be holding a free two-hour concert tonight at 7 p.m. in the Olive underpass, near the McClelland hall.

Bruce Bayly, a mathematics associate professor and a bass singer in the group, said they have been practicing in the underpass for years.

"We love performing in there," Bayly said. "We don't need amplifiers because the acoustics are so great."

Catacoustic Groove members consider themselves an a cappella rock group that sings anything from soul to rhythm and blues to doo-wop songs.

Each of the seven members likes to sing different music, bringing different tastes and styles to the final composition, Bayly said.

"My favorite songs to sing are Beatles songs," Bayly said. "I think that is because I may be the only one who is old enough to remember who the Beatles are."

Jay Lehman, a second tenor for the group and undeclared sophomore, said variety is stressed when picking the song list.

"We sing for two hours and no one wants to hear two hours of doo-wop," Lehman said. "We like to sing anything from an Irish tune we sing in Gaelic, to Van Morrison."

Catacoustic Groove began in 1993 when then playwright and UA student, Michael Craig, and one of his friends were working together at a local sub shop, Lehman said.

It didn't take long for them to see that they liked singing and wanted to form a group. By word of mouth and flyers placed around the campus other members were recruited, Bayly said.

"I was never a singer until I had children and I had to put them to sleep," Bayly said. "When I saw the flyers I knew I was interested."

Since the formation of the group 10 years ago, new members have joined and a few have moved on, but Bayly said the fun, the friendship and the music are still as strong as ever.

"We are all such great friends," Bayly said. "I don't know what we would do without each other."

Catacoustic Groove has released two compact discs titled, "A Cappella Problem" and "This New Place", which are available on their Web site,, and at their concerts.

At the moment Bayly said the group has no plans of releasing another CD, but he assumes they will start work on one some time soon.

The group toured Europe in 2001, staying in youth hostels and singing on street corners for spending money, Bayly said. The tour took them through Austria, Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland.

"We would play a few venues, but mostly we would just stop and sing in the streets," Bayly said. "One amazing night in Munich we made over $1,000."

The group likes to sing a cappella because if someone doesn't like to hear it, you can just move to another street corner, Bayly said.

"We all carry around these amazing musical instruments inside," Bayly said. "When we get a bunch of people together it is amazing what comes out."

The members of Catacoustic Groove are Erik Herman, Michael Craig, Jay Lehman, Dave Zientara, Bruce Bayly, Mike Zecchino, and Harold Russell.

Last year's spring concert in the underpass drew a crowd of more than 150 people, Bayly said. He hopes even more people come out tonight.

"We love singing for the UA," Bayly said. "It is so much fun and such a nice place to be."

Lehman said the group loves audience interaction when they sing their songs and that is one of his biggest motivators.

"My favorite moment is when a man and a women are hugging each other and singing our songs," Lehman said. "It's not me that is causing them to smile. It's not one person in the group. It is all of us."

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