Spotlight on: The New Hampshire Gentlemen
Founded in 1979 here at UNH, The New Hampshire Gentlemen have been blessing our ears with their great a cappella performances. Making music just from voice is truly a remarkable skill, and each of this group's members adds something unique to concerts and gigs. They live and breathe by the motto “Good Singing and Good Times!”
The Gents consistently aim to create lifelong friends, memories and experiences while showcasing their best musical talents and doing something they love. If you have a passion for singing and are looking for a tight knit group of people to spend your college years with, The Gents are for you! Be sure to stay updated with their pages, and attend their Spring Concert, coming soon!
To learn more about The Gents and what they are all about, I reached out to my two great friends Nick Moore ’18 (The NH Gents president) and JB Guthrie ’20 (a new member) to hear insider knowledge and find out what it truly means to be a New Hampshire Gentleman.
Nick Moore '18
UNH Tales: What attracted you to the New Hampshire Gentlemen, and what made you try out?
Moore: To be honest, I had no idea what I was getting into before joining the NH Gents. In the fall of 2015, I had just been injured playing for the club rugby team, and it looked like my sports career was coming to an end. Even though I couldn’t play sports anymore, I still wanted to find a way to get involved on campus. One day, I randomly saw a friend who told me that there were tryouts for his a cappella group happening at that very moment. So I walked on over with him to his tryouts in the MUB and thought of two songs that I knew all of the words to sing for my audition. If I had never struck up a conversation with my friend on the street that day, I would probably have never tried out for the Gents or be in the position I am in today.
UNH Tales: Did you have a background in singing or a cappella before you joined the Gents?
Moore: To be honest, I never had a formal background in singing or in a cappella before joining. When I was asked about prior music experience at my audition, I completely forgot to mention that I had almost eight years experience playing the piano and possessed basic guitar knowledge. Instead, I said I loved singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the shower sometimes and was ranked 12 in the world on Guitar Hero at one point in my life (true story). My point is, you don’t have to be the offspring of Michael Bolton or T-Swift to join the Gents. As long as you have a basic knowledge of music, have a decent voice and love to hang out with the boys, you make an excellent candidate to try out for the Gents. Our motto is “Good Singing and Good Times” for a reason. We are a bunch of guys who love and appreciate music but also adhere to the casual approach the Gents have when dealing with it.
UNH Tales: What are some of the major performances and events the Gents hold throughout the year?
Moore: The biggest performances of the year would definitely have to be our fall and spring concerts. They are held at the end of each semester and consist of an entire setlist of songs — typically around 11 or 12 — that we have rehearsed during that semester. It’s an incredible feeling to have all of your friends, family and alumni come back and appreciate the work we’ve put into mastering the songs and making sure we give them an entertaining performance. Also, we do plenty of other gigs throughout the semester supporting other on-campus orgs, Greek Life and philanthropy events. We sang for a newlywed couple on their wedding. We’ve traveled to BC and Northeastern to sing at other a cappella group shows and meet their members. We’ve participated in the annual Faneuil Hall a cappella competition every year since I’ve been in the Gents. As you can tell, being in the Gents doesn’t just consist of being in rehearsal for two hours, three days a week singing “dos” and “ooh’s” all day. There are incredible payoffs.
UNH Tales: What do the Gents strive to do for an audience during a performance?
Moore: It totally depends on the song. If we’re singing “Danny Boy,” a somber Irish song about a parent talking to their son who’s going off to war, we want the audience to sit back and appreciate the heartwrenching tone and lyrics. On the other end of the spectrum, if I’m singing the solo to the pop-country song “Body Like a Back Road,” I want the audience to smile and laugh at my ridiculous dance moves and completely just have fun with it.
UNH Tales: How has the Gents organization changed from the time you joined to now?
Moore: I have seen a lot of different people come through the Gents since first joining in 2015. I have also seen a lot of different leadership, too. Although these things are always changing, the overall group dynamic never seems to change. During our annual reunions in the summer, we get the opportunity to hang out with alumni dating back to the group's formation in the late 70s. There’s such a rich history and alumni network within the NH Gents, and it’s an incredible experience to hang out with alumni who are in their 40s and be able to connect with them so easily due to our past experiences here at UNH and our shared passion for music.
JB Guthrie '20
UNH Tales: What attracted you to the NH Gents and prompted you to try out?
Guthrie: My good friend Nick Moore, who is also a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, gave me the incentive. He’s the president of the Gents and has always told me about how much fun it is. I have a very musical background (my father, sister and mother all play instruments), but I have never really done anything with music. So, I decided to try it out.
UNH Tales: What is a typical week like in the life of a member of the Gents (practices, performances, community service, etc.)?
Guthrie: A typical week consists of practice on Monday and Wednesday from 8 – 10 p.m. and Tuesday from 7 – 9 p.m. We usually have gigs on the weekend, but we sometimes have a weekday gig.
UNH Tales: Can you explain the different roles people take during a performance and how a cappella works?
Guthrie: During a performance, people sing different variants to a song. There is someone who sings the actual lyrics, and then there are various parts that sing the background. There are usually four voice parts: Tenor 1, Tenor 2, baritone and bass.
UNH Tales: How do the younger classes of Gents coming in differ from the older classes of Gents, and what direction is the org heading in?
Guthrie: To be completely honest, I feel like there isn’t much difference between all of us in that way. Yes, our personalities are all vastly different, however, we are all so close because we are all working toward a common goal. Plus, we have a lot of fun along the way.
UNH Tales: Why should students come try out for The Gents?
Guthrie: Students should try out for The Gents because it’s an extremely fulfilling and exciting experience. Being able to sing songs and sing them well as a conglomerate is a feeling that is indescribable by words.