Good Question

Good Question
Type of groupArts
SelectiveYes
MembershipAbout sixteen
Meeting timeSeveral times per week
Meeting placeSomewhere with a piano
Established1995
Websitehttp://www.williamsgoodquestion.com

Good Question was created 24 years ago, which makes it one of the youngest a cappella groups on campus. However, having just hit puberty means that the awkward years are over, and GQ is getting rather sexy. Stuck between crazy and hot (leaning, however, to the latter) GQ has been known to put on a good show, always with something to laugh at, someone to drool over, and some pretty damn good music to listen to in between. Members are rumored to like the following: jersey shore, flannel, whales, spoonerisms, and bundt cake.

Available for hire; prices negotiable.

Current Members

Fiona Keller '21 (Music Director)

Peter Knowlton '21 (Co-Business Manager)

Nadiya Atkinson '21.5

Christopher Thomas '21

Allison Li '22.5 (Co-Business Manager)

Anjali Poe '22 (Treasurer)

Gigi Gamez '22 (Social Media)

Polly Ellman '22 (Deputy Music Director)

Thomas VanBelle '22

Brooke Flagler '23

Carolyn Mielke '23

Robin Lamb '23

Tad Montesano '23

Will McCormick '23

Asha Sandler '24

Ben Su '24

Leo Marburg '24

Members abroad

Andrew Lee '22

Trivia and Lore

How GQ Came to Be

GQ's story actually begins with a proto-GQ started by Erica Hyman '98 and Bryan Frederick '98 their freshman year that was comprised of frosh that did not get into any other a cappella groups. They did not hold auditions, seeing that it was "part of the problem," which unfortunately led to the group not working out that well. Rehearsal attendance was an issue and the group struggled with complicated arrangements. The group was not an official college sanctioned club, lacking even a real name. Despite these issue, the group did manage to pull together and perform two songs ("Zombie Jamboree" and "Goodnight, Sweetheart") on WCFM that spring. Then, in a moment that has gone down in GQ history, the radio host asked the group what their name was, and Bryan answered without thinking “Good Question.” The host responded, jokingly, “Wow, great name for a group.” (Listen here)

The next fall, Erica and Bryan disbanded the proto-group and held private, invitation-only auditions a couple weeks after the existing groups had held theirs, drawing mostly from folks that had tried out for the Frosh Revue and didn’t get into any other a cappella groups, as Erica was music directing Frosh Revue that year. That first year, the group consisted of nine members, with Bryan and Erica the only sophomores and the rest freshman. That group was actually good, and so they did need a name to perform and advertise. Erica and Bryan had been joking since the spring that they could just keep calling themselves Good Question, but they were determined to come up with a better name, though one that was not a pun on either “Eph” or musical terminology (see Ephlats and Accidentals). In Bryan's words, "We failed spectacularly," and the group has been Good Question to this day (often abbreviated with its kick-ass initials).

Because of the Frosh Revue connection, there was a pretty heavy emphasis on skits and choreography in those early years, and while that emphasis has come and gone, one part of GQ’s founding ethos did persist: "our goal was to take the music seriously, but not take ourselves too seriously." (Bryan Frederick) Since then, through good times and bad, GQ has kept to this goal, and hopefully will for years to come.

Group Song

Like most of the a cappella groups on campus, GQ has a group song, which it uses to officially end every rehearsal and that is sung as the penultimate song at every concert (with hand motions!). The group wanted a song that would be upbeat, short, and "straight up ridiculous," which reflected the group dynamic then and now. In 1997, Adam Bloom '99 came up with the idea of doing a Janis Joplin song in "barbershop quartet style," and Mercedes Benz spoke to him as reflecting the song qualities that GQ wanted. The rest, of course, is history.

Solos

In its history, GQ has never* had members audition for solos, avoiding the political frustrations that arise from competition in the group as well as freeing up time to actually rehearse the music. For the first couple years, the music directors would assign solos at their discretion, however that has since changed. Now, the group decides together who will solo in a given semester, prioritizing the first-years and the seniors, and then those people who are soloing (or dueting, as the case may be) will choose what songs they would like to sing (subject to ratification by the group/directors). This leads to a very diverse set of songs each semester that showcases the unique musical interests of all of the group members.

(*Once in 1999, the group had auditions for a solo, and it turned out so horribly that they agreed to never do it again.)

After the songs are decided, the music directors meet with the arrangers and decide who will arrange each song and by when it will have to be arranged. In certain circumstances, the group may ask an alum to arrange a song for the group.

Official GQ Haiku

GQ is so hot

They make Hell look like a place

That is not hot. Yeah.

Discography

Find GQ on Bandcamp here

Find GQ on Soundcloud here

Senior Solos

Since around 2009, GQ has taken to recording the spring solos of the senior class every year, and these have formed a collection rather than an album of true gems. This era marked what Ryann Leona Tookes would refer to as "GQ's entrance into the mainstream." Not to fear though -- although we were singing Justin Bieber and making grown women and men swoon (both thanks to Kilo V Martin), we remained the weird lovable nerds we have always been. These songs were recorded over 5 years, under a variety of conditions: in 2010, during a snowstorm in Malex's New Hampshire bedroom (?); in 2011, at a studio in New York (the setting of the ill-fated "We lost Doug!" hoax, and a guest appearance by Darryl Tookes); in 2012 and 2013, at a studio in Albany; and in 2014, in Brooks Rogers Recital Hall in the Bernhard Music Center.

(Hannah Wang '13)

Fruity

Half of this album was recorded during Winter Study of 2004, and the other half was recorded in Winter Study 2006. As a result, Fruity features people from the classes of 2004 through 2009.

Featuring everything from country (She’s No Lady; Walkin’ After Midnight) to oldies (I Think We’re Alone Now; Silhouettes; 59th St. Bridge Song; You Send Me; I Will) to TWO Disney tunes (Duck Tales Theme; I Just Can’t Wait (to Be King)) to MTV musicals (U + Me = Us (Calculus)) to songs about legendarily genitalia (Enormous Penis), Fruity is nothing if not eclectic.

Fun facts about (people who sang on) this album:

  • Miles Klee had just gotten back from studying abroad when the 2006 recording sessions started. Miles almost certainly made up parts on most of the songs we recorded then.
  • I was the music director during the Winter Study 2006 recording sessions, but then I went abroad right after we finished recording. I found out the name of the album when Stephen Abbott emailed me the final cover art and the message, “We just thought this was the right name for the album.” To this day, I love that cover art, and am incredibly glad I was not involved in that process, because I’m sure I would have screwed it up.
  • This album features three singers who attended high school together, and as college students, we all performed a jam at that high school during the winter of 2004. Those students? Sumana Cooppan Wolf ("Freedom 90"), Christine Kearsley ("59th St. Bridge Song"), and yours truly, Andy Eklund ("Silhouettes"). Amanda LaSane Ali ("Hard to Say I'm Sorry") grew up 13 miles away, and as I recall, she had fans in the audience as well.
  • Attending this annual a capella jam at a high school auditorium outside of Boston was an annual tradition for several years.... until the high school cut its a cappella group. But numerous GQers from those years had sleepovers at the Hunt, Cooppan, and Eklund households. Only one year involved a terrible snow storm. And my parents are still talking about how much breakfast Karl Naden and Ellen Crocker were able to eat! It must have been the home cooking.

(Andy Eklund '07)

Speed Clocked by Aircraft

This album so named as it was one of the road signs observed during cross-state trips, was recorded spring 2000 and recorded January 2001, with the album being released just in time for the spring 2001 concert.

The album included equal parts 90’s schlock (All For One, All For Love, More Than Words, Kiss Me, Hands), classic rock (Pinball Wizard, Piece of My Heart, Her Majesty), contemporary pop (Because the Night, Something’s Always Wrong, Rain King) a dose of novelty (Doctor Worm, It’s Oh So Quiet), and more. Singers from the classes of 2000 to to 2004 were featured, musical director extraordinaire Carolyn Adams Lowell won MVA (most valued arranger) with 8 songs under her belt (runner-up Sara Sara Caswell Kolbet with 3). Most solos - Alex Lavy! (Pinball Wizard, Doctor Worm, All for One, All For Love and back up on Something’s Always Wrong).

A few things GQ learned in the making of this album:

  • You can’t write with ballpoint pen on the cover side of a CD, and if you do that on the master copy you’ll need to get a new CD master produced
  • You can get a bit punchy mastering an album all night on a Sunday and then driving back across state just in time for Monday classes
  • J Stefan Kaczmarek is the king of vocal percussion (Rain King as case in point)

(Eric Powers '02)

Party to Go, Volume III

GQ's first album was recorded from December 1997 to January 1998, as GQ overcame a lice epidemic and, you know, school work, to produce a marathon 23 song album (there is a hidden track following the last song). The diverse set of songs ranged from GQ's first, Brown-Eyed Girl (solo by Adam Bloom), to Higher and Higher (solo by Hilary Ley Jager), which appeared on the CD before it was ever sung in concert, which explains why it ends in a fadeout.

(Bryan Frederick '98)

Known Alumni

The Founders - '98s

Bryan Frederick

Erica Hyman

'99s

Stine Goldstein

Adam Bloom

Matt Grainger

Jessica Stokes

Rich Ota

'00s

Sara Kolbet

Elizabeth Baker

Sung Kim

Alicia Currier

Cate Williamson

Torie Gorges

'01s

Hilary Ley

'02s

Carolyn Adams

Fred Hines

Stefan Kaczmarek

Iva Borisova

Eric Powers

'03s

Alex Levy

Emmy Valet

Andrew Schulte

'04s

Rachel Adams

Susi Mitchell

Eve Biddle

Sumana Cooppan

Jen Vorse

Louisa Pitt

'05's

Rebecca Allen

Meghan Giuliano

Dan Krass

Josh Larson

'06s

Vlado Nedkov

Christine Hunt

Ellen Crocker

Julie Esteves

'07s

Andy Eklund

Steve Abbott

Tracy Foote

Miles Klee

Amanda LaSane

'08s

Peter Shin

'09s

Lauren Bloch

Dave Kleinschmidt

Matt Lincoln

Claire Monroy

Emily Olsen

'10s

Achbold Battogtokh

Alex "Falex" Budden

Alex "Malex" Creighton

Caitlin Eley

Jessica Mahoney

'11s

Rob "Grob" Gearity

Rob "Krob" Kim

Marissa Pilger

Ryann Tookes

'12s

Megan Behrend

Lizzie Fox

Kyle Martin

Sam Mazzarella

'13s

Doug Ballanco

John Chandler Hawthorne

Joel Siskin

Hannah Wang

'14s

Charlotte Dillon

Pat Megley

Sarah Sanders

Frankie "The Tank" Simms

'15s

Veronica Gould

Brice Green

Amir Hay

Piper Sallquist

'16s

Jochebed Bogunjoko

Bailey Edwards

Michella Ore

Daniel Potter

'17s

Andrew Lyness

Cami Speyer (Member Fall 2013 - Fall 2016)

Rose Warner Miles (Member Fall 2013 - Spring 2015)

Ananya Mayukha (Member Fall 2013 - Fall 2014)

'18s

Bee Sachsse (Member Fall 2014 - Spring 2017)

Eli Llera

Justin Smilan

Nick Friedman (Member Fall 2014 - Spring 2016)

'19s

Alice Obas

Alex Summers

David Krane

Francesca "Frankie" Eluhu

Veronica "Nica" Kovalcik (Member Spring 2017 - Spring 2019)

'20s

Anna Nicholson (Member Fall 2016)

Hannah Gruendemann

Lily Shao

Whitney Sanford

'21s

Abby Fournier (Member Fall 2017)

Christopher Thomas (Member Spring 2020 - )

Fiona Keller

Nadiya Atkinson ('21.5)

Patrick Postec (Member Fall 2017 - Spring 2018)

Peter Knowlton

'22s

Allison Li ('22.5)

Andrew Lee

Anjali Poe

Gigi Gamez

Polly Ellman

Thomas VanBelle

'23s

Brooke Flagler

Carolyn Mielke (Member Fall 2020 - )

Robin Lamb

Ronni Ramos (Member Fall 2019)

Tad Montesano

Will McCormick

'24s

Asha Sandler

Ben Su

Leo Marburg