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Matinee: 'Singing Men of Ohio' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

2 December 2017

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 126th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Singing Men of Ohio.

When we punch out on Friday afternoons and sit back to review recent photography videos, we enjoy one of the perks of our position. It's educational and inspiring. And the joy is especially enhanced when we run into something that just hits the spot. Like this slide show.

Each shot was artfully framed with focus intelligently dialed in. Watch it twice to appreciate the photographer's skill.

Who took the pictures? The blurb on Vimeo doesn't say, but it was posted by Hanna Schroeder who studied photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, so we're going to hold her responsible, even though she is gainfully employed somewhere in Texas (which is nowhere near Ohio).

This is, apparently, the story of Alexander Petras, who narrates the slide show. He's one of the Singing Men, who are so cool they spend their spring break singing a capella (no musical instruments) along the east coast.

Petras remembers the sound the group made at one stop on a recent tour. "It really feels like you can't do that kind of music on your own." No matter how talented you are as a solo singer, he says, you can't match the sound that nearly 100 guys can make.

There's something to that. "Stronger together" doesn't just work in the NBA.

We're not invested in universities east of the Rockies, so we did a little research on Ohio University, which was founded in 1804. And as we did, we became more and more impressed -- particularly in this age of rising tuition and diminishing returns.

It's a public university whose $11,896 in-state tuition comes with a guarantee of "a cohort based, level-rate tuition, housing, dining and fee model that assures students and their families a set of comprehensive rates for the pursuit of an undergraduate degree at Ohio University. Tuition, housing, dining and fee rates established at enrollment remain unchanged for 12 consecutive semesters."

That amounts to about $25,000 a year total. Compare that to Stanford, say, at $65,000 a year or USC at $73,000 a year. Inferior institutions, according to this UC Berkeley ($30,000 a year) grad.

The Singing Men of Ohio know how to cut costs, too, we learned. "One of the ways we make tour more affordable is by spending nights with people generous enough to open their homes to us," they say before asking for a place to crash. Classy crew. And they probably sing in the shower, too.

The Section Eight group of the Singing Men, named for the military term for discharge due to mental incompetence, is a smaller group. Here they sing Adele's Hello:

But the reason we're drawing your attention to them is that video up top. And not because it's a video but because it's an artfully executed slide show. Watch the cuts timed to the dialog but take note of the depth of field and focus, too.

When it was over, we gave it a standing ovation.

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