We traditionally hold auditions at the beginning of each semester, and post sign-up sheets in the Hall of Music. Please look for our emails on various listserves announcing the audition weekend, or email us if you fear you may have missed them. You will be required to sing some scales, complete pitch-matching exercises, and sing a short solo of your choosing. If you are a prospective student visiting Whitman and think the ttones might be for you, please let us know when you will be on campus and we will try to arrange a time for you to sit in on a rehearsal.
From the Archives: The origin of the ttones
This history of our founding was unearthed during a website redesign, and credit goes to an unknown past ttone.
Picture the scene: lush greenery in the oasis of an agricultural landscape, the Palouse region of southeastern Washington State, an environment which not only cultivates bountiful grain but brilliant minds as well. It is the fall of 1996, and classes have just resumed from a stimulating summer respite. The baby ducks have learned to safely navigate the streets around their algae-covered pond, and the squirrels have almost forgotten the hazards of random frisbees careening quietly from the skies.
Far removed from the distractions of big city life (Starbucks didn't move in until late 1999, a situation some considered a hearkening of millenial doom), students at Whitman College in Walla Walla were happily settling in for another invigorating year, once more shackled by the fetters of academia. In retrospect, it is easy to see the calm before the storm which was soon to hit campus, but at the time, few students, including those most directly responsible could have envisioned the events to come.
One quiet Wednesday afternoon, after a particularly rousing rehearsal for the Whitman College Chorale, two Freshmen with an spark of inspiration (Scott MacGowan and Chris Garratt) approached a Senior (Trevor Neal) who had been dabbling in male quartets throughout his college career. Inquiring about his status as the "a cappella guy" on campus, the three students pushed forth to create a new musical ensemble at Whitman.
Numbers in the invitation-only membership fluctuated briefly, but eventually settled on a core group of around 13 dedicated individuals who were committed to bringing manliness and quality a cappella music to the world. Several ideas for a group name emerged, but due to Federal restrictions, we are not allowed to print the majority of them on this web site. Eventually, and logically, the name "The TestosterTones" surfaced, and instantly the group was a hit.
Undaunted by this early success, the group decided that actually learning some music to perform might be good. The TestosterTones first performed at the "Speakeasy," held in mid-October of that same year, and was greeted by a throng of screaming fans (not to be confused with the thongs of screaming fans, which fortunately for that event at least, were tucked safely away). That year, the TestosterTones sang before countless audiences, including a Christmas Party for the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, which called for gripping renditions of O Tannenbaum! (You only think we're kidding about this.)
The final concert for their first year together was performed to a crowd nearing 400, easily breaking all known fire codes for occupancy. Hundreds of disappointed fans were turned away at the door, and T-Tones concerts have consistently been this successful ever since. Perhaps the key to the success of these performances was the showmanship of group, who over the years have performed such classics as "The RiverDance Rejects," "The TestosterTones on Ice," "The Canadian Freedom Concert," "The Grease Rejects," "The Stomp Rejects," "TestosterTones: The Musical," "The TesosterTones Musical," and "The TestosterTones Live from Central Park." During one performance, the group even raised over $500 and six boxes of canned food for needy families during the winter holidays.