We are the Opportunes:
Bringing you the very best of co-ed a cappella from Harvard University since 1980
The Opportunes are a group of students who come together to share their love of music with each other and with our audiences. We harness the talents of our members, the diversity of genres, styles, and artists, and the vibrancy of our history and traditions in a way that is innovative and exciting for listeners, young and old.
Our history and vision
In 1980, two Harvard-Radcliffe students, Simin Yazdgerdi and Suzanne Goldsmith, transformed a loosely organized singing group known as the Harvard Squares into Harvard’s first full-fledged mixed a cappella ensemble, The Harvard Opportunes.
Over the years, we've won widespread acclaim for our intricate harmonies and bold stage presence. Though we are all seasoned musicians, our interests span Harvard's vast curriculum and we participate in countless clubs, athletics, publications, service programs, and other performance groups.
As Harvard's oldest co-ed a cappella group, the Opportunes strive not only to produce consistently high-quality live and recorded music, but also to engage our dedicated network of supporters -- including family, friends, fans, and alumni -- and do business in a way that reflects our group's mission to build a sustainable organization. To do this, we operate according to the following core principles:
1. Learning and performing music in ways that are innovative and cutting-edge
2. Expanding the reach of our music to new audiences at both the local and national levels
3. Drawing on the knowledge and experiences of previous members of our group to enhance long-term viability, increase institutional memory, and preserve the social fabric of our organization
4. Understanding the wide array of our audiences both within and beyond Harvard's campus, and catering our music to bringing them excitement and joy
5. Maintaining an environment that is both professional and light-hearted
Awards and Accolades
The Opportunes have a history of excellence at the regional and national levels. Most recently, we advanced to the semi-final round of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Northeast division, only after Kat Kearney '17 took home the award for Best Solo in the Quarterfinal show. Last year, our newest full-length album "On the Edge" was given a4-star rating by the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB). As part of the RARB's "Picks of 2014," our song, "I Wish" (solo and arrangement by Pilar Fitzgerald '15) was selected as a Track of the Year. Another track, "Barton Hollow," was selected to be featured on the Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) 2015 compilation album (solos by S Reid '15 and Zachary Bernstein '13, and an arrangement by Fitzgerald). We were voted "Fan Favorite" at Emerson College's 2013 All A Cappella Live.
In previous years, we've had success with both our live and recorded music. Several Opportunes soloists, albums, and arrangements have won awards from organizations like the the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (Shawna Cornelius - Best Mixed Collegiate Solo; Jordan Reddout - Best Mixed Collegiate Solo runner-up; Brian Fehlau/"Why Should I Cry For You"- Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement runner-up; Plugged - Best MIxed Collegiate Album), the Voices Only compilation album (Rachel Flynn/"We Built This City," Featured Song, 2008), and the ICCA (Leah Reis Dennis - Best Solo, 2011 Quarterfinals). These awards, combined with other numerous nominations and our recent successes, not only speak to our status as a premiere performance group, but also to the rich history of talented individuals who have taken the stage as Opportunes.
Each semester the Opportunes perform in one major concert in Harvard's historic Sanders Theater at Memorial Hall. We collaborate with some of the prominent a cappella groups on campus to fill the beautiful space with our music and energy.
We are also available to perform for hire throughout the year at all kinds of venues such as schools, weddings, private functions, and public events. Recently, we've performed at Boston's Fenway Park as part of the Pan-Mass Challenge, USA's Suits Season 4 special premiere for the cast and crew of the hit TV show, New York's Madison Square Garden, and many more exciting places. Other prominent moments in our storied history include singing in the Empire State Building, performing with Adam Sandler before a sold-out crowd at Radio City Music Hall, being featured musical guests on NBC's The Today Show in 1997, and sharing the stage with James Moody and Take 6 in a performance for a who's who in the entertainment industry to celebrate Quincy Jones' 50 years in music in 1995.
We love performing with other ensembles, and in recent years have put on shows with some of the very best - the Duke's Men of Yale, the Tufts Beezlebubs, the Berklee CharlieChords, the Brown Derbies, and the Dartmouth Aires - not to mention all of Harvard's other a cappella groups!
Each year over spring break, the Opportunes take a rest from the fast pace of Harvard's campus and venture to new and exciting locations. There, the group enjoys rest and relaxation by day and entertaining our audiences (from school children to resort guests) by night. Past spring break locations have included the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Montreal, Hawaii, Miami, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, and Puerto Rico. The Opportunes also spend a few days touring New York each April, performing publicly in places like Central Park and privately for alumni and private functions. If you are interested in having us perform on tour, don't hesitate to contact us!