In the first of several feature articles detailing the progress of each UK a cappella group, we focus on The Alleycats of the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
The Alleycats were formed in 2001 by a couple of male friends and became the university’s first a cappella group. They were originally an all-male group but in 2007 decided to invite females to audition for the group, and the group is now made up of roughly half and half.
During their early years, they set about increasing their reputation in and around St Andrews by performing at various functions and gigs. However, their major publicity came in 2008 when they entered BBC’s Last Choir Standing primetime singing competition, and they progressed to the live shows. Unfortunately, they were eliminated in the first heat.
The following year they entered the first ever Voice Festival UK competition and progressed to the final. They succeeded in doing so again in 2010, which was also their first year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where they performed six times to packed out crowds.
At the start of the 2010/2011 academic year, the group released their latest album, Cat Touch This, which sold relatively well around St Andrews. The group took part in the annual Christmas A Cappella Concert in St Andrews and were well received. They took part for the third time in the Voice Festival UK, performing a set of Shania Twain’s That Don’t Impress Me Much, The Killers’ When You Were Young and Chris Brown’s Forever. They did not progress to the final in London, due to the number of qualifiers from the St Andrews being reduced from two to one.
In early August they took part in the Fringe By The Sea in North Berwick and returned to the Edinburgh Fringe for two weeks, and were received very well in both instances.
The Year In Quotes
…of the CD, Cat Touch This:
“Such a good album… Starlight [originally by Muse] is unbelievable, Whatcha Say [Jason DeRulo] so good as well” – Alan McIvor, Alleycats fan and former member.
…of the Voice Festival UK:
“The bike that they made out of people during their set was awesome.” - Mark Gregory, UACUK founder and member of The Other Guys.
…of the Fringe:
“We had a proper Fringe experience this year, we were in a more central and a larger venue and for two weeks, and that enabled us to bring in an entirely new audience of people who have never seen us before. It was challenging to keep up the energy for the entire time, but also immensely fun. We were at least half-full every night, which is impressive for the Fringe. We’ve all just had a really great time.” – Andrew Adam, member of The Alleycats
“Energetic and fun-filled [...] dynamic.” – BroadwayBaby
“Infectiously entertaining.” – FestMag
“The guy doing the beat box stuff [Cammy Dobbie] was phenomenal.” – Alexis Affonso, audience member.
The Alleycats are looking forward to another successful year of a cappella. They have already laid down a few tracks for their newest, as yet untitled album that potentially has an early 2012 release date, in order to incorporate their two departing members and any newcomers on the same album.
Aside from the album, they plan to compete in the Voice Festival UK once again and return to the Fringe in the summer of 2012, while potentially embarking on a tour of the UK with the profits they have made from this year’s festival, in order to increase their reputation and garner a brand new fanbase.
Whatever they get up to, the Alleycats are sure to have a great time doing it!
The Alleycats can be found on: