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‘Glee’ skyrockets Tufts Beelzebubs to fame

The all−male a cappella group finds itself busier than ever these days

Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 07:04

Bubs

Meredith Klein / Tufts Daily

The Bubs are riding a wave of newfound attention as they sing for the Dalton Academy Warblers on Fox’s ‘Glee.’

What if every week you got to hear yourself sing on one of the most popular TV shows in the nation? For a select few Tufts students, this dream is a reality.

It's fairly common knowledge at this point around campus that the Tufts Beelzebubs are the group singing for the preppy Dalton Academy Warblers on Fox's "Glee." The show reached its peak number of viewers this season with its post−Superbowl episode, as 39.5 million people tuned in to watch their favorite singing high schoolers. That same episode featured the Bubs backing up one of the show's stars, Darren Criss, on Destiny's Child's "Bills Bills Bills."

"I know that we've had at least eleven songs on ‘Glee' so far and have recorded even more," sophomore Bubs singer Jack Thomas said. "I still have a special feeling for ‘Teenage Dream,' because it was so absolutely thrilling; it was surreal and it's a really sweet recording, too. It stands out in my mind."

"Teenage Dream," which briefly topped the iTunes charts as the top−selling track in the nation, was the Bubs' first appearance on "Glee," launching them onto the radar of fans across America.

"Getting a deal like ‘Glee' has raised a lot of awareness across the country, so now instead of doing high school shows, we've been doing many more corporate shows far away; it's been a really wild year," Thomas said. "We've gone to a lot of awesome places."

While the Bubs traveled to New York City to record "Teenage Dream," subsequent songs have been recorded much closer to home — Q Division Studios in Davis Square, which has allowed the a cappella group to work on songs at the drop of a hat.

"The producers will call us, and they'll ask us for a track in the next two days, so we'll get to the studio as soon as possible and start laying down tracks," he said.

With their bolstered celebrity status this past year, the group's role both on and off campus has certainly changed.

"Sometimes it's really hard to gauge what the on−campus reception is like, because we're not here much … but I'd say that during home shows when we sing songs from ‘Glee,' we get bigger responses," Thomas said. "It's the same situation for away shows; when we went to [Boston University] to perform, the first time we started singing ‘Teenage Dream' it was like a wall of sound — 800 girls screaming at the top of their lungs. It was spectacular."

And beyond screaming fans, it seems that the group has attracted prospective students as well.

Kyle Carbone, a sophomore tour guide for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, makes sure to include in his tours that the Bubs can be heard almost weekly on "Glee."

"It's one of my fun facts," Carbone said.

Carbone enjoys the reactions he receives.

"People are usually shocked," he said. "The girls tend to giggle, and some of the guys do too. I feel like people often ask me follow−up questions and immediately ask me if I know anyone in the Bubs, to which I gladly answer yes."

As a self−proclaimed avid "Glee" watcher, Carbone said that sometimes the fact that he knows the people who are singing blurs with the show's characters.

"I guess it's kind of weird that I don't see them, rather I hear them, so to be honest, sometimes I forget that I know the people who are performing," Carbone said. "When I do make that realization, though, and it comes back to me, I think that it's really cool."

Sophomore Natalie Salk agreed that the Bubs' involvement with "Glee" has offered a selling point for Tufts.

"I tell my friends at other schools that the Bubs are the Warblers on ‘Glee,' and they're just blown away," Salk said. "I think that the Bubs are really stepping up their game by making songs that are heard by so many diverse groups of people."

Though Thomas is a fairly new member of the group, having joined just a month before the end of last school year, he didn't believe that the "Glee" fame changed the Bubs' underlying goal to bring the joys of a cappella to campus.

"The motto is ‘Fun through song,' and we talk to each other and remind ourselves why we're doing what we're doing before every performance," Thomas said. "We don't think more highly of ourselves now because of this. The only thing that has changed is how busy we've become."

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