Tufts University Beelzebubs (US)

In the fall of 1962, a handful of Tufts men gathered to sing in the basement of West Hall. They named themselves “Jumbo’s Disciples: The Beelzebubs” and prepared an original version of Winter Wonderland for Tufts’ annual Winter Sing. By the end of the 1963-64 academic year, the Bubs had recorded their first album, performed with the Boston Pops, and traveled as far as New York City. Throughout the late sixties and early seventies, the Bubs’ popularity grew on Tufts’ campus and on college campuses throughout New England.

In 1973, the Bubs celebrated their tenth reunion at Cambridge’s Sheraton Commander Hotel. Unfortunately, the mid-‘70’s brought harder times. Larger issues such as the Vietnam War, the Watergate Scandal, and the oil crisis resulted in less enthusiasm and opportunity for extra-curricular campus activities. Fortunately, a small but dedicated group of undergraduate singers, with the help of the Beelzebubs Alumni Association, managed to keep the group alive and strong by singing, traveling, and recording. Because the group survived these times, the Bubs remain Tufts’ longest running student organization. During the ‘70’s, the Bubs also began adding popular music to their usual repertoire of barbershop, doo-wop, gospel, and jazz.

The 1980’s brought prosperous times for the Bubs. Each year, the gigging schedule grew larger while tour destinations became increasingly farther from Tufts. By the end of the ‘80’s, the group’s most distant destinations included Florida, California, Colorado, and England. Also, on-campus enthusiasm for the group increased, resulting in stronger audition pools and more complex musical arrangements.

In the early 1990’s, the Bubs made several developments that not only changed the group’s own style but also permanently affected the characteristics of collegiate and contemporary a cappella. The 1991 album Foster St. almost completely abandoned the traditional arranging styles of glee club, doo-wop, and barbershop music and introduced a new brand of arranging which aimed to capture the driving nature of contemporary popular music.

Throughout the 1990’s and into the new millennium, the Bubs have continued to develop this new style while also performing some music of the group’s past. To date, the Bubs have recorded 27 studio and 3 live albums and have won several awards for performing and recording. They also boast an active alumni association whose Bubs Foundation raises funds for music in Boston’s public schools. The Bubs have traveled to nearly every corner of the United States and have toured Europe on several occasions. They have performed at colleges, corporate gigs, public and private elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, bar mitzvahs, wedding showers, restaurants, hospitals, churches, Fenway Park, the Bank North Garden, Disneyworld, Disneyland, Eurodisney, the United States embassies in France and England, on Late Night with David Letterman and back home in Goddard Chapel at the top of the hill in Medford, MA.





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