The Chordials

The Cornell Chordials performing at Cocktail Hour XIII on April 16th, 2010
Background information
Origin Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
Genres Collegiate a cappella, Pop, Rock and Roll, Soul, R & B, Country
Years active 1997–present

President: Nathan Bull '13
Musical Director: Carolyn Rogers '12
Asst. Musical Director: Harry Davis '12
Business Manager: Mona Kelkar '12
Secretary: Shannon Lawrence '13
Publicity Managers: Nathan Bull '13
and Theo Matthai '13
Alumni Relations: Heather Larkin '13
CD Manager: Shaye Torres '13
Webmaster: Kellie Haselkamp '11
Allie Thielens '11
Billy Ferguson '11
Matthew Gottesman '13
George Flanagan '14

The Chordials are a co-ed a cappella group at Cornell University that perform a mix of rock, soul, R&B, and pop music.



The Cornell Chordials were founded in 1997 by Elana Wolff ('01). The group has traveled and performed in many venues across the northeast, including at Penn State, Haverford, Rutgers, Muhlenberg, RPI, Johns Hopkins,[1] Rochester, Buffalo, New York City, Martha's Vineyard, the Ithaca area, as well as many venues on the Cornell University campus.

Over the years, the Chordials have had anywhere from six to eighteen members, and they had 13 active members as of the summer of 2010. Every year since 1998 the group has produced at least one major concert, including their annual "Cocktail Hour" concert in the spring semester. Their annual fall concert is titled "Crunkapella". Throughout their time at Cornell University, the Chordials have maintained a varied repertoire including such songs as Sam Sparro's "Black and Gold", Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova, and Róisín Murphy's "Ramalama (Bang Bang)." Through their regional performances and their several album releases, the Chordials have become a well-known exemplar of the collegiate a cappella genre.

The group produced their first album Shaken... Not Stirred in the spring of 1999. The album features songs such as "Come on Eileen" and "Killing Me Softly." The group's second album Not For Minors premiered in the fall of 2002, with songs including Sarah McLachlan's song "Angel" and Madonna's "Like a Prayer", which is now the Chordials' official alumni song. Their third album, The Third Chapter, features renditions of "Echo" by Incubus, Gladys Knight's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", and "One Sweet Day" as recorded by Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey.

In 2001, the group made its debut at the ICCA (International Championship of College A Cappella) quarterfinals in Rochester, NY, during which member Gabi Kornfeld ('04) received the award for Best Vocalist for her performance of "Angel."[citation needed] In subsequent years, the group received additional awards at the ICCA including Best Choreography, Best Soloist, Best Arrangement, and Best Percussion. In 2004, the Chordials became ICCA Finalists, placing third at the ICCA Finals in New York City's Town Hall Theater (ICCA Website).[2]

The group's fourth album, Arrival, was released on April 14, 2007 at their tenth anniversary concert "Cocktail Hour X".[3] It was recorded and produced by alumnus James Cannon ('07), via his production company "The Panic Room." Arrival features complex arrangements of songs from the catalogs of artists such as Puddle of Mudd, Snow Patrol, Nine Inch Nails, and others. At the concert, the Chordials celebrated their first-ever appearance on the annual Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) album for their rendition of Nickelback's "Photograph". Arrival also went on to win the 2007 acaTunes Award for their cover of "Let Me Entertain You," featuring soloist Rebecca Urbelis ('08). The album became a Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) Pick of the Year in 2007.

In 2008, the Chordials were nominated for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) for the first time in their history. Arrival was nominated for all four awards in the Mixed Collegiate categories, including Best Song (nominated), Best Soloist (runner-up), Best Arrangement (winner), and Best Album (winner).

In December 2006 and 2007, the Chordials embarked on a week-long "Winter Tour" across the southern regions of New York State and northern New Jersey, focusing on giving performances and educational musical workshops at high schools across the region. In March 2009, The Chordials toured the southern regions of New York State yet again, as well as parts of western Connecticut.

In 2008, the Chordials released their fifth studio album, titled Smash, produced by alumni James Cannon ('07) and Ari Goldman ('09). This album, like Arrival, was nominated for all eligible categories in the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), and the album was also chosen as a Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) Pick of the Year. The City Is At War, originally performed by Cobra Starship was featured on the Best of College A Cappella CD in 2009.

The Chordials went on their first international tour in June 2008. It was a sponsored trip around Germany in support of The Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development, an organization which focuses on the prevention of female genital mutilation. The group performed over a ten day period throughout Germany at private events, schools, castles, and in the streets of Frankfurt.

Over the summer of 2010, the Chordials traveled to Martha's Vineyard for a four day summer tour and retreat. The group performed at the West Chop Club.

Recent events

Shake The Poet, the Chordials' first EP was released at their Fall concert, "Crunkapella" on November 14, 2009. The album was mixed and mastered by Steve Goldman of "Four Legs Records." Since its release, the six track EP has won Best Mixed Collegiate Song, Best Mixed Collegiate Soloist, and it was the runner up for Best Mixed Collegiate Album in the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA). "Use Somebody" was featured as the opening track on the 2010 Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) Compilation CD. Shake the Poet was chosen as a CASA Top Ten Mixed Collegiate Album Pick of the Year, and their cover of Ramalama (Bang Bang) was chosen to be featured on Sing VII: Lucky.

Their seventh studio recording, PULSE, was released on April 29, 2011 at Cocktail Hour XIV.


Year Presenter Award Result
2001 ICCA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal Best soloist Winner, (Gabi Kornfeld)
2002 ICCA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal Best choreography Winner, (Randi Dublin and Jay Legaspi)
2003 ICCA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal Overall 3rd place
Best soloist Runner-up, (Jay Legaspi)
2004 ICCA Northeastern Quarterfinal Overall 1st place
Best arrangement Winner, (Sam Coffin)
Best choreography Winner, (Jay Legaspi, Jackie Pribil, Felicia Williams)
Best vocal percussion Winner, (Jay Legaspi)
ICCA Northeastern Semifinal Overall 1st place
Best choreography Winner, (Jay Legaspi, Jackie Pribil, Felicia Williams)
Best soloist Winner, (Felicia Williams)
ICCA Finals Overall 3rd place
2007 acaTunes Awards 2007 Favorite Tracks of the Year "Let Me Entertain You" opb. Robbie Williams
BOCA (Best of College A Cappella) BOCA "Photograph" opb. Nickelback
RARB Picks Pick of the Year "Arrival"
2008 CARAs (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards) Best Mixed Collegiate Album Winner, (Arrival)
Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement Winner, (Brian Tarpinian - "Photograph")
Best Mixed Collegiate Soloist Runner-up, (Rebecca Urbelis - "Farther Away")
Best Mixed Collegiate Song Nominated, ("Swing Low, Sweet Chariot")
2009 A.A.C.I. Sing V: Groovus "The Moment I Said It" opb. Imogen Heap
BOCA (Best of College A Cappella) BOCA "The City Is at War" opb. Cobra Starship
CARAs (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards) Best Mixed Collegiate Album Runner Up, (Smash)
Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement Nominated, (Ari Goldman - "The Moment I Said It")
Best Mixed Collegiate Soloist Nominated, (Billy Ferguson - "Love Me Dead")
Best Mixed Collegiate Song Nominated, ("Love Me Dead")
2010 BOCA (Best of College A Cappella) BOCA "Use Somebody" opb. Kings of Leon
CARAs (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards) Best Mixed Collegiate Album Runner Up, (Shake the Poet)
Best Mixed Collegiate Soloist Winner, (Ariel Arbisser - "Cold Shoulder")
Best Mixed Collegiate Song Winner, ("Ramalama (Bang Bang)")
CASA Top Ten Mixed Collegiate Album Picks 2010 Top Ten Mixed Collegiate Album Picks (Pick of the Year) "Shake the Poet"
CASA A Cappella Community Awards[4] Favorite Collegiate Album Runner Up, (Shake The Poet)
Favorite Female Vocalist Runner Up, (Ariel Arbisser)
Favorite Mixed Collegiate Group Nominated, (The Chordials)
Favorite A Cappella Album Title Nominated, (Shake The Poet)
Favorite A Cappella Song Nominated, (Ramalama (Bang Bang))
Favorite Gender Bender Song/Solo Nominated, (Cold Shoulder)
Favorite Cutting Edge Group Nominated, (The Chordials)
RARB Picks Pick of the Year "Smash"


Shaken, Not Stirred (1999)

  1. One Fine Day
  2. She Has A Girlfriend Now
  3. That Lonesome Road
  4. Independent Love Song
  5. Return to Innocence
  6. In the Still of the Night
  7. Heaven
  8. Sweet Surrender
  9. Come on Eileen
  10. And So It Goes
  11. Come Go with Me
  12. Killing Me Softly
  13. Take on Me
  14. Trippin' Billies
  15. Dream

Not For Minors (2002)

  1. Spiderwebs
  2. The Lion Sleeps Tonight
  3. Like a Prayer
  4. Kate
  5. Landslide
  6. The Longest Time
  7. Black Balloon
  8. Linger
  9. Bed of Lies
  10. What a Feeling
  11. With Arms Wide Open
  12. Angel

The Third Chapter (2005)

  1. All For Leyna/I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight
  2. Bright Lights
  3. Echo
  4. Precious Things
  5. I Heard It Through the Grapevine
  6. Center of Attention
  7. I'll Be Okay
  8. Love You Madly
  9. One Sweet Day
  10. Alegria
  11. You And I Both
  12. Paper Bag
  13. Please Don't Go
  14. One By One/Circle of Life

Arrival (2007)

  1. Let Me Entertain You
  2. This Is How A Heart Breaks
  3. Blurry
  4. Breathe In
  5. Farther Away
  6. Chasing Cars
  7. Who Knew
  8. Waiting For You
  9. Perfect Drug
  10. Photograph
  11. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Smash (2008)

  1. Never Again
  2. The City Is at War
  3. Black and Gold
  4. Nothin' Better to Do
  5. Lithium
  6. The Bird and the Worm
  7. Die Alone
  8. Sweep the Leg
  9. Someone Else's Tomorrow
  10. Mercy on Me
  11. Love Me Dead
  12. The Moment I Said It

Shake the Poet (2009)

  1. Use Somebody
  2. Cold Shoulder
  3. God Put A Smile On Your Face
  4. Ramalama (Bang Bang)
  5. Decode
  6. Soon We'll Be Found

Pulse (2011)

  1. Sweet Disposition
  2. Sincerely, Jane
  3. The Other Side
  4. Touch
  5. What's a Girl Gotta Do
  6. Rolling in the Deep
  7. Smile for the Paparazzi
  8. Papa Was a Rollin' Stone
  9. Skipping Stone
  10. Pantomime
  11. Cosmic Love

See also


  1. ^ "A cappella scene boasts variety" in The Johns Hopkins News-Letter (9 December 2005) accessed 5 May 2007
  2. ^ "Chordials Compete" in The Cornell Daily Sun Online (6 May 2004) accessed 5 May 2007
  3. ^ "Chordials celebrate ten years of Cocktail Hour" in The Cornell Daily Sun Online (20 April 2007) accessed 5 May 2007
  4. ^

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