Top Cats ground music in friendship

One student club has been offering up energetic vocals for more than three decades.

The Top Cats are self-described as UVM’s first, finest and only all-male a capella group.

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All male a cappella group the Top Cats preforms at Billings Library Mar 19. The group has become one of the most recognized clubs on campus and performs at UVM throughout the year. SABRINA HOOD/The Vermont Cynic

“We make little differences in people’s lives, bringing little bits of happiness to people with our concerts,” junior William McSalis said.

The group was founded in 1981, and performs at a wide range of events, from concerts to birthdays, weddings and charity events, according to their website.

Members of the Top Cats said they are grateful for the friendships a capella has brought them.

“It’s more than just singing together, it’s growing as friends,” senior Christian Lewis said.

The group says they try to bring their close-knit friendship into their shows and performances.

“We are primarily a singing group, but I think our energy from our friendship, the little skits and the funny things we do make it really fun to watch,” sophomore Noah Paradis said.

The Top Cats rehearse for two hours a day, three times a week and have already learned four new songs this semester, which Paradis said were all arranged by Top Cats members.

“After working really hard in rehearsal to get the songs down perfectly, when you get out on stage and nail that part, there’s no better feeling,” junior Ragnar Clarke said.

The Top Cats play a wide range of genres, from contemporary to barber shop.

“We try to keep a nice even balance of genre and energy level in each show,” sophomore Michael Lawler said.

Traveling to universities across the country, the Top Cats have come to realize a capella at UVM is truly unique, Lewis said.

“I don’t think we would wear rolled up tuxedos and bare feet elsewhere,” he said. “UVM’s welcoming and supportive, that’s the vibe here. A UVM audience is extremely receptive and supportive, we have great crowds and great energy.”

The Top Cats said they are also close with the other a capella groups on campus, like the Cats Meow, acknowledging other schools have much more rivalry between groups.

“We see each other in social settings a lot and play concerts together,” McSalis said. “There is definitely a lot more rivalry at other schools, we really support each other here.”

The group also recently released an EP titled “The Litter Box Sessions,” which is available for download on iTunes and Spotify.

The EP was produced by member Luke Young and features songs like the group’s cover of “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, according to their website.

The Top Cats will perform their final show of the year and honor their graduating seniors at an upcoming senior show April 16 show in the Ira Allen Chapel.