Hamilton a capella group The Buffers performed in the 33rd annual John Lennon Tribute concert before a sold-out crowd at Symphony Space on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Dec. 6. The Lennon Tribute, co-sponsored by Theatre Within and Music Without Borders, began in 1981 as a small gathering of artists who wished to honor the memory of the musical icon, and has since grown into a major charity event for the Spirit Foundation, which Lennon and Yoko Ono founded in 1978.
The Buffers opened the show as backup vocalists on Rich Pagano’s rendition of Elton John’s tribute to Lennon, “Empty Garden.” After performances by Across the Universe star Dana Fuchs, comedian Joe Raiola, and singer-songwriter Toshi Reagan, The Buffers took center stage with an a capella version of The Beatles’ “Because” and a medley of “Revolution,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” “Mind Games,” and “Give Peace a Chance,” arranged by former Buffers music director Peter Mallozzi ’09.
The Buffers later joined Grammy nominee and former Grateful Dead backup vocalist Joan Osborne for a rendition of Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” They then rounded out the event as backup vocalists on Lennon’s “Happy Christmas/War Is Over,” on stage with all of the evening’s musicians.
Founded in 1950, The Buffers are Hamilton’s oldest a capella group. The 14-man group is currently composed of members of the College Choir, the College Hill Singers, and seven varsity athletes from five different teams. They are: Vince DiCindio ’15 (president), Andrew Rippel ’14 (music director), Evan Warnock ’14, Kyle Leahy ’14, Steve LaRochelle ’14, Alex Hayes ’14, Claeson Dillon ’14, Will Chouraqui ’15, Jacob Frost ’15, Cole Dreyfuss ’16, Mike Akselrad ’16, Max Flath ’17, Matt Golding ’17, and Colin Purcell ’17.