Author: Kaelie Lund

Local a capella scene expands with Krossmen

St. Olaf’s music scene has just expanded with the entrance of Krossmen, a newly-formed a capella quartet. Members include: Aaron Kohrs ’16, Duncan Tuomi ’16, Harrison Hintzsche ’16 and Nathaniel Hendrix ’16.

Q. How was the group formed?

Harrison: [Aaron, Duncan, Nathaniel and myself] started singing as a quartet a few times in early- to mid-December with the first piece Duncan arranged, which was “Butterfly.”

Duncan: When we first sang through “Butterfly,” I was like, “that went a lot better than I expected!” So I was like, “We should probably keep doing this.”

Nathaniel: After rehearsal one night, we put up the “Butterfly” video, not really expecting much of anything, but it seemed to start to pick up after our Junior Counselor Jacob Hauschild posted the video on the “Overheard at St. Olaf” Facebook page.

Q. Were you surprised that your videos got popular?

Duncan: [Laughing] We did not expect that at all. Our group is very casual.

Nathaniel: We used to just sing for people in our room and jam together, and, all of a sudden, lots of people knew that we loved doing that together.

Harrison: Krossmen is based on just jamming and sharing that love with other people.

Q. What’s it like to rehearse together?

Nathaniel: It’s really nice because we can tell each other to “tune things up,” or do things a certain way.

Aaron: Yeah, you literally can’t do that with anyone else because people get offended.

Duncan: It also doesn’t hurt that the music we rehearse and perform [is] our own arrangements, so we know exactly what we want out of the pieces.

Nathaniel: Over interim, we got really busy and could only practice from like 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. and people didn’t really like that; we’re pretty loud.

Harrison: Before we relocated [to practicing in the music buildings], rehearsing in our room was really convenient because we all live in the same hallway, but we understand why we had to move.

Duncan: But, I mean, who actually is sleeping and/or studying during the hours of 11-1? Oh, right. Everyone.

Q. How do you decide who arranges the pieces and gets the solos?

Duncan: For the last songs that we’ve done, someone just picks out a piece and arranges it.

Nathaniel: Yeah, then they’d show it to the group and ask, “Hey, what do you think?” and it usually translates well with everyone. As for solos, whoever arranges [the piece] usually gets the solo, or it goes to whose voice it would fit best.

Duncan: That’s true. [Harrison] originally had the solo in “For Emma,” but Aaron ended up singing it for the video.

Harrison: Yeah, I was like, “This doesn’t sound as good as it could be – here, Aaron, you take this.”

Aaron: I love how unselfish we are when it comes to solos.

Nathaniel: You mean “selfless”?

Aaron: [Laughing] Shut up, Nathaniel.

Q. What are your roles within Krossmen?

Harrison: Duncan’s the joker!

Duncan: Now, I was going to say Aaron’s the joker, especially when we’re recording!

Aaron: For sure in recording – and sometimes performing.

Harrison: Yeah, [Aaron] definitely has the whole “stage-presence” thing going on when we’ve performed.

Aaron: Well, take “Falling Short,” the medley Duncan wrote. I never thought of it as being a funny piece, but now that we’ve added a few dance moves to it …

Duncan: Basically, we all love to joke around, but we’re all serious in our own respect.

Nathaniel: Every once in awhile, one of us will be like, “Hey, stop that. We need to focus,” and then we do.

Harrison: Yeah, like all of our rehearsals leading up to our performance [in Illinois].

Q. Tell me about your performances thus far.

Nathaniel: Our first performance was at the Ellingson Open Mic Night two weeks ago, and, Harrison, what was our second one called?

Harrison: The International Championship of High School A Capella Midwest State Finals, and we were the collegiate host group, meaning we performed a set while the judges deliberated which high school group won.

Aaron: I thought it went really well, though the second gig we had had a significantly larger audience.

Duncan: [Performing in Illinois] was really fun, and we got some great feedback from audience members after the performance.

Q. How did that feel, to go from performing for 50 to 600-700 people?

Aaron: I want to go back [to Illinois].

Nathaniel: There was the same amount of energy in both audiences, though, just different because one group was St. Olaf students and the other was a crowd of people that live for a cappella music.

Harrison: I almost preferred the Ellingson gig because there were people we [knew] there, and we were well-received by all of our friends.

Q. So what is the future for Krossmen?

Nathaniel: I don’t think that any one of us knows exactly. Right now, we’re just having a lot of fun with jamming together and putting videos up.

Duncan: I agree. Krossmen was formed kind of spontaneously, so it’s hard for us to try to figure out where we’ll be going with this, but I think we all can agree that performing will always be a part of our lives.

Harrison: This group was based on a love of music and singing together, and we know that if it gets stressful or strays from our original intent, then we’re doing something wrong.

Aaron: I love the performance aspect of it, and I love these guys, so I know that even if we stop putting up new videos, we’ll never stop playing together.

Check out the band’s Facebook page at Or, use a smart device to scan the codes below to view two of their most popular videos on YouTube: “Butterfly” and “Swallowed in the Sea.”

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Proposed SGA Constitution changes put to the vote

The Gender and Sexuality Center: “Queer-ly” a safe space for Oles of any orientation

At the top of Holland Hall, up the steepest flight of stairs on campus, lies a corner classroom: 606C. A piece of computer paper is taped to the door with a message written in red Sharpie: “The GSC will be opening in October, 2012,” signed with a cheerful “Thank you” and a smiley face. This classroom is the home of St. Olaf’s Gender and Sexuality Center: a place for students identifying with any gender or sexual orientation to co-exist, have conversations, learn more about gender and sexuality and just hang out.

For many student organizations – such as Sexual Assault Resource Network SARN, Students for Reproductive Health SRH and Gay, Lesbian, or Whatever GLOW – the re-opening of the Gender and Sexuality Center will provide a way to stay connected.

“The center itself is a space,” GLOW Coordinator Brian Walpole ’13 said. “It’s got a lot of great resources from books on feminism, queer theory and how to pick up your first same-sex date. It also acts as a hub between all the gender and sexuality groups on campus so we can stay close and support one another.”

The GSC also sponsors St. Olaf’s annual “V-Week,” a well-known set of events on campus in the spring, including “The Vagina Monologues.” A documentary-based play, “The Vagina Monologues” tells the stories of women from a variety of cultures, and discusses issues from sexual assault to visits to the OB-GYN.

Another event of V-Week is the information tables sessions where, most memorably, students can get pictures with someone dressed in a festive costume.

“My freshman year, I remember seeing a person in a vagina costume and St. Olaf’s rendition of ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ which were totally shocking to me,” SRH President Robin Cole ’13 said. “My background is conservative, small-town Wisconsin, and it was a good feeling knowing that people make [V-Week] fun and everybody knows about it on campus; it’s a really good movement.”

Cole realized her sophomore year that she wanted to become a reproductive rights activist and looked up Students for Reproductive Health on the St. Olaf website. After emailing the former president, Cole was invited to a meeting. This past year, Cole took over as president.

“[The GSC] is important on campus because we have an amazing presence of organizations representing sexuality, but some students don’t always feel comfortable connecting with GLOW. The Gender and Sexuality Center fills in the gap between them,” Cole said.

The GSC will be open Monday-Friday from 3-5 p.m. Besides the optimistic “we’ll be back” sign, a blue sign stresses that the GSC is a safe, equal space for everyone, especially those who have questions about their own sexuality.

“I had a friend who had an ‘I-don’t-know-what-I-am’ question, and I went with her to the Gender and Sexuality Center,” Annie Stewart ’15 said. “They had a wide range of texts to look through, and there was someone there to help talk through things with, and that definitely helped her.”

Although the GSC hasn’t officially opened yet, opportunities for getting involved are on the horizon, and Walpole knows firsthand the good experiences that can come from working with the GSC.

“If anyone wants to get involved with GSC stuff, I’d say go for it.” Walpole said. “It’s never too early to get involved with organizations you care about, and the GSC is a great spot to start and see how different organizations can work together.”

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Proposed SGA Constitution changes put to the vote