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The Buffers' Voices Carry...To a Commencement Ceremony in Nigeria

By Allison Eck '12  |  Contact Holly Foster 315-859-4068
Posted June 5, 2009
Tags Buffers
Hamilton College voices carry. Year after year, Hamilton disperses its prodigious talent and insight across the country and globe. It is not surprising, then, that these voices sing – quite literally – in some unlikely places. 

The American University of Nigeria conducted its first-ever Commencement ceremony on May 31 – a momentous occasion for the school. American University in Washington, D.C. aided in the process of founding the University, which was created in response to a high demand for American-style education. The Commencement speaker was Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, but if a Hamilton student had attended the ceremony, he or she would have heard some even more familiar voices. 

The Hamilton College Buffers recently arranged and recorded the University's alma mater per the request of Graham Espe '02, a Hamilton graduate whose mother Betsy (a former Hamilton employee) is currently the vice president of administration and finance for the University. Although Espe was not a Buffer himself, the all-male a-cappella group was more than happy to do him, and the school, a favor. 

All of the members were very excited to be given this opportunity, said Buffer and Bristol Fellowship winner Ethan Woods '09. "We immediately said 'Yes! We're doing it.' We pictured cars driving down the street booming with the University of Nigeria alma mater," he laughed. 

Fellow Buffer Peter Mallozzi '09 set the lyrics, which are composed of the University's mission statement, to music. Although the school sent an MP3 file containing a rough mix of the song, they urged The Buffers to "a-cappella it up." The Buffers learned the alma mater and recorded it, with free license to exercise creative control over harmonies. It was played on Sunday for the founding class of students, founder, board of trustees, implementation committee, faculty and staff in Yola, Nigeria, where the University is located. Desmond Tutu and former South African President Nelson Mandela were among the prominent members of the school board who listened and approved the song Saturday night. 

"It's a really cool way to broaden our horizons," Woods noted. "In the past three or four years we've made contact with media relations, the alumni office, and toured tons of universities, but this time the Buffers go international." 

The Buffers sent their logo along with the recording so a picture could be taken with the board of the school and the logo. In addition, Espe mentioned that the University might ask the Buffers to do an official studio recording of the same piece again in the near future. 



Listen to the Buffers sing the University's alma mater

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