No Strings Attached celebrates 20 years of a cappella music

By Maria M. Lameiras | Emory Report | Nov. 5, 2014

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No Strings Attached frequently performs at Emory events. Here, David Shortell (from left), Benito Thompson, Yedoye Opigo Travis, Collin Shepard and Fei Gao sing the alma mater at Commencement in May 2014. Emory Photo/Video.

No Strings Attached, Emory's popular men's a cappella group, will hold its 20th Anniversary Alumni Concert on Nov. 8 in Emerson Hall of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

The 8 p.m. event will feature an opening video, performances and a skit centered around 20 years of No Strings Attached (NSA) performers. The show includes current NSA members, as well as returning NSA alumni from over the years.

"We all are involved with NSA because we like to sing, but we want to find music that touches people," says Malik Alexander 17B, public relations and marketing chair for NSA. "Our alumni love being involved and we hope this concert will bring out a standing-room-only crowd."

Emerson Hall, which seats more than 830, is a new venue for NSA and more than doubles the capacity of their usual concert location in White Hall.

The concert is free and open to the public.

While serving as NSA president in his senior year at Emory College, Ajay Premkumar 10C 15M 16MPH helped organize the group's 15th alumni anniversary concert. He hasn't missed an NSA concert since graduating and looks forward to performing at Saturday's 20th anniversary celebration with his fellow NSA alumni.

"NSA definitely changed my college experience tremendously. Through the group I met a lot of people with different interests and from many different backgrounds. Many of the members during my time in the group remain very close friends," he says.

Premkumar and his fellow NSA alumni will sing songs from their time in the group and he looks forward to watching the new members of the group perform.

"The anniversary concert is a fun event, and a big Emory event. A lot of NSA alumni fly into Atlanta to reconnect to a piece of their Emory experience, some of whom haven't seen each other for five to 10 years. It will be a great night to come together to celebrate Emory and NSA," Premkumar adds.

NSA debuted in spring 1994 when four Emory students performed at an open-mic night at what is now Dooley's Depot. At that time, there were no a cappella groups at Emory, and most of the groups performing were bands. Since these students weren't a traditional band, they thought it appropriate to name the group No Strings Attached.

NSA holds two concerts each year, in fall and spring, and has performed at many Emory events, including Commencement. The group has been on 12 concert tours, most recently to Panama City, Panama, in March. The group has also performed all over the United States, as well as in France, Spain, Italy and Puerto Rico.

NSA has appeared on compilation albums featuring the best of collegiate a cappella and has released nine albums of its own. The group's most recent album, "XX," is a compilation celebrating NSA's 20th anniversary, featuring tracks from its seven full-length albums, plus four brand new tracks. "XX," along with a selection of past albums, will be available at the concert and on the group's website nsaemory.com.