Cut the Jazz: Uptown Vocal celebrates its 25th anniversary

Lerner 572 is a small room, but the members of Uptown Vocal fill it completely with their voices as they harmonize on Ella Fitzgerald’s “Love Is Here to Stay.” The group leans in together for an enthusiastic crescendo before coming to a triumphant finish.

It’s an important show for Uptown Vocal.

Not only is it their end-of-year concert, but it’s also their 25th anniversary. And for this show, they’ll be inviting back alumni to sing alongside current members.


Before the a capella group hits the stage, Spectrum sat down with three of UV’s members to find out what it’s like behind the scenes.


“This show is going to be a big family reunion,” says Elizabeth Karnaukh, BC ’16. “We’re singing arrangements passed down through years with over 30 alumni flying in to do a set with us. We’re focusing on what we’ve accomplished as a group.”

Though Uptown Vocal is a jazz group, they still have their own individual style of music. “Our jazz songs aren’t all standard arrangements. We’re performing our founder’s arrangements, and they’re rooted in tradition,” says Kunal Kamath, CC ’17.

“One really emotional piece that we’ll be doing is ‘Love is Here to Stay,’ especially as a senior,” says Linda Cartolano, BC ’16. “It really solidifies the element of family and community.”


“Our arrangements really reflect how we are a group. They’re not usually soloist-driven like many pop-acapella performances,” adds Kamath.

As for what audience members should expect from the celebratory show, Uptown Vocal has a selection of classics and new favorites. “‘Let’s Do It’ and ‘Funny Valentine’ are two UV staples, and we’ll be doing them with alum at this show,” says Karnaukh.

“I came into UV not knowing much about jazz,” says Cartolano, “But after four years I’m leaving with a family. This show will be a culmination of everything that’s happened in this group. I’ve found a group of people who will always be there for each other, because we’re all brought together by jazz.”

The group’s love for their music—and each other—is obvious. As they run through their repertoire, the excitement is palpable—it’s clear UV’s 25th Anniversary will be a memorable and triumphant one.

Uptown Vocal’s 25th Anniversary Concert will be on Friday, April 29 in Lerner C555 at 8 p.m. Tickets are free and can be reserved at the TIC office.

Photos by Sophie Kossakowski


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