The Trinity Tiger Tones, Trinity College’s premier all-male acapella group, has been entertaining audiences for over a decade and returned from Europe at the beginning of this year. We caught up with outgoing secretary Jack Wright to get his thoughts on their winter European tour.
1. You’ve just returned from what I understand was a very successful tour of Europe. Who came up with the concept for the tour, how long was the tour and where did you visit?
At the end of 2015, the Tiger Tones went to Perth to visit our brother group, The Newby Blues at St Georges College UWA. While we were there, we found out about our third brother group, Out of the Blue from Oxford, and it got us thinking. We were entering a ‘golden age’ for the group, with a huge increase in paid performances and social media popularity. At the beginning of 2016, the executive team, with Lloyd Miller as Head Barber, decided that our 2016 tour was going to be one to mark the ‘golden age’ and also the ten-year anniversary of the group. We got in touch with Out of the Blue in Oxford and organised a concert. From there we contacted other groups across the UK and Ireland. I was responsible for organising the tour, from flights to accommodation to concerts and contacts. We ended up travelling to the UK and Ireland for 2 weeks, visiting The Other Guys at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, The Trinitones from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and of course Out of the Blue in Oxford. We had some stops in Edinburgh and London for tourist opportunities as well as rest and relaxation.
2. What were some of the highlights and lowlights of the tour?
Two weeks feels like a long time, but for all of us on tour, it went so quickly! It’s hard to pin-point a specific high and low-point so I’ll list a few brilliant experiences…
Performing a Christmas concert to a crowd of about 600 people after a full day in St Andrews and a 24-hour flight! Having a hit of golf on the St Andrew’s course (the home of golf). Our impromptu busking/performance sessions on Waterloo Bridge, right next to the London Eye, in front of Buckingham Palace (the Queen didn’t come out for a listen sadly) on St Andrew’s pier, in the SCR of Trinity College Dublin and in every airport/train station we were travelling through!
With such a full-on tour, the only low-points were the times that we were just exhausted. But these times always turned into a positive with a few quiet nights in just chatting, planning the next day, and generally getting around each other.
The entire tour was such a brilliant end to the academic year. With some of the members leaving us at the end of 2016 and graduating at the same time, it was truly a brilliant way to end their time with the group.
3. Going off the photos it looked pretty cold over there. Did any of the guys have problems with the weather?
Leaving Australian summer and arriving at about 7am in Scottish winter was certainly a shock to the system! On the first day, after taking a bus to St Andrews from Edinburgh, we walked around the town to get our bearings but the fog was so thick that we couldn’t see very far in front of us! The weather was cold, but surprisingly sunny and clear for most of the two weeks we were travelling! All the locals said we were very lucky. The biggest shock for us was how early it got dark. By about 3pm it was like it was midnight. This made it quite hard to deal with the jet lag but after a few days we were all in the correct time-zone.
4. What was it like performing with the Trinitones from the University of Dublin and how did that collaboration come about?
The Trinitones were absolutely amazing! We contacted Neil Dunne, their Head Barber back in early 2016 and we were met with nothing but enthusiasm! From the moment we arrived in Dublin, they welcomed us into their homes and university and had lined up some brilliant activities and experiences for us. They had organised a tour of the Teeling Distillery as well as a tasting. We sang a little song in their bar/restaurant and made it on to the Teeling Distillery Facebook and publicity pages. The Trinitones were wonderful to perform with, sharing their music and joining us for some collaborations.
A very special moment for both groups, was the learning of The Auld Triangle, a traditional Irish song. While watching the Australia v Ireland rugby at a pub outside Dublin, we gallantly sang our national anthem along with the Trinitones singing theirs. With the unfortunate loss of Australia, we managed to impress the Irish fans around us who were giving us a little friendly competitive taunting, with the combined groups singing The Auld Triangle. We were met with thunderous applause and thanks.
Our concert with the Trinitones in an underground jazz bar was a very memorable experience. With a packed venue, full of all age groups, we sang our hearts out and the crowd loved it! After the concert, a DJ started and the venue became a nightclub and we partied into the early hours of the morning.
We want to thank the Trinitones and the wonderful people of Ireland for making us feel welcome from the moment we arrived.
After our time with the Trinitones, we were very sad to part ways, although we have heard that it won’t be for very long! The Trinitones were inspired by our international tour and have told us that they are coming to Australia!
5. The Trinity Tiger Tones has now been performing for over a decade and have performed at College events, weddings and other special occasions as well as overseas. Do you feel any pressure to keep coming up with new songs and ideas or is this something which comes naturally to the group?
With such a diverse range of performances, from V Dinner at college, to weddings, to wakes, to busking outside Brunetti on Lygon Street, we need music that appeals to a very broad audience. Our repertoire is quite diverse and we do like to keep it current, such as our Justin Bieber mash-up and our 2016 Hits mash-up. We do get a lot of requests for older songs or artists such as Queen and Billy Joel. Often the older songs are the most fun to perform, because we are continuously changing or adding new formations or dance moves to make them more entertaining and suit the venue we are performing in.
With 14 guys in the group, we are always tossing new ideas and thoughts around. It is great to have such a diverse group of guys that all contribute in their own unique way.
6. What is the best way to get in contact if you are interested in having the Trinity Tiger Tones perform at an event?
We have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/trinitytigertones/), Instagram (tigertones_au), Snapchat and a website (https://www.tigertones.com.au/).
The best way to get in contact for bookings is to email us at email@example.com