The all-female a cappella group Noteworthy will be performing a holiday concert Dec. 4 with the Grunyons at Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church in Grosse Pointe Farms.

The all-female a cappella group Noteworthy will be performing a holiday concert Dec. 4 with the Grunyons at Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Photo provided by Danielle Dumont


A cappella groups raise their voices in holiday song

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 27, 2018

 The all-male a cappella group the Grunyons, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year, will join Noteworthy for the fifth annual Christmas on Lake Shore concert Dec. 4.

The all-male a cappella group the Grunyons, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year, will join Noteworthy for the fifth annual Christmas on Lake Shore concert Dec. 4.

Photo provided by Philip MacKethan

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Two of the area’s oldest a cappella groups will get the holidays off to a tuneful start when they perform seasonal favorites during Christmas on Lake Shore at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church in Grosse Pointe Farms.

The all-female group Noteworthy and the all-male group the Grunyons will perform during this, their fifth annual, holiday show. The Grunyons is a vocal jazz group born out of a Yale University ensemble, the Whiffenpoofs, and was founded in 1949 by eight Yale grads from the Grosse Pointes. Noteworthy — which, like the Grunyons, takes part in the American A Cappella Alliance’s annual Spring Sing — dates back more than 25 years. In May 2019, Noteworthy will be hosting Spring Sing in Detroit.

Danielle Dumont, of Grosse Pointe Woods, who has been with Noteworthy for the last five years, said the two groups don’t sing together, but this concert is a rare opportunity for the public to see both of them on the same stage; the groups have teamed up to sing at private parties.

“The (holiday) concert started off as an opportunity for the two groups to bring a cappella to the community,” she said. “It was really the first formal setting where these groups came together to kick off the holiday season.”

Philip MacKethan, of Grosse Pointe Park, who has been with the Grunyons for the last 12 years, said the groups introduce new Christmas songs every year, and “we keep some of the old favorites.”

“We’ll do a blend of Christmas music and some secular pieces,” he said.

Audiences might be surprised by how full the sound of the groups is, despite the fact that they have no musical accompaniment.

“The music is very enjoyable,” MacKethan said.

Each year, a different emerging a cappella group is chosen to perform, and this year, Dumont said, it’s Angels on Call from the University of Michigan.

While Noteworthy remains largely Grosse Pointe-based, MacKethan said the Grunyons are now roughly split between the east and west sides of metro Detroit. They’re also no longer just Yale grads; now, he said, they have graduates of U-M, Princeton University, Vanderbilt University and other schools.

MacKethan said there’s “not as much choreography” at these concerts as what audiences are used to from the “Pitch Perfect” films, but Noteworthy and the Grunyons do offer their own spin on contemporary songs, such as “Nobody But Me,” by Michael Bublé.

Organizers say this concert has become an unofficial start to the holidays for many attendees.

“Usually, there’s a lot of laughter and warm feelings,” Dumont said. “We get everybody into the spirit.”

The concert formerly sold out the auditorium at The War Memorial, but a reduction in the number of seats in the renovated space forced the groups to look for other venues.

Dumont said audiences this year can purchase tickets online through Eventbrite as well as from members of either group. In the past, she said, tickets were only sold by members of the Grunyons and Noteworthy.

“It just is a little more convenient for some people to buy them online,” Dumont said.

No matter how audiences buy tickets, advance purchases are encouraged, as there may not be tickets available at the door. Tickets cost $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

“It’s a wonderful, charming Christmas performance that gets you excited for the season,” MacKethan said.

Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church is located at 211 Moross Road. For tickets or more information, visit thegrunyons.com or noteworthysings.com.