The Beginning

The name of the octet, The Other Guys, was taken from the name of a VMGC trio called The Other Three (string bass, guitars -- very Kingston Trio), which had completed a good run the year before. The actual date of the first public performance by The Other guys is also lost in the mists of memory, although one thing is certain: the first time The O.G. appeared with the Glee Club at one of its campus concerts was at the Spring Concert in 1969. Thus the founding of The Other Guys is dated from then. (Joe Brown, one of the R.E.O.G.’s of the second wave, insists -- probably correctly -- that the venue of that first Spring Concert with the Other Guys on the program was still the old Auditorium on the Quad, now named Foellinger Auditorium, not the then-brand-new Great Hall of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, now named the Foellinger Great Hall, as was stated in the brief history that was included in the 1994 booklet for the 25th anniversary O.G. reunion.)
The basic framework of the octet has never substantially changed. The members of The Other Guys are recruited from the ranks of the Varsity Men’s Glee Club and must remain members of the VMGC in order to stay active in the octet. One new wrinkle in recent years: the group has opened auditions to anyone on campus, and if a new O.G. is not already in the Glee Club, he is required to join. The O.G. choose their own replacements by audition, without participation by the Glee Club director. From the very beginning, the members of The Other Guys devised and taught themselves their own arrangements or borrowed (stole?) songs from other acappella groups, and that tradition goes on. Miraculously, Bill Olson continued to let the octet perform at Glee Club concerts, often without knowing ahead of time what numbers they were going to pull out of their hat. The Glee Club audiences quickly fell in love with the light-hearted popular music and humorous choreography of The Other Guys, and the octet continued to be a palate-freshener in the middle of every full-course Glee Club concert. This symbiotic relationship between the Glee Club and the O.G. was a key to the success and continuity of the octet.
Parenthetically, the popularity of The Other Guys led directly to the establishment of several other acappella groups on the campus of the University of Illinois, including The Girls Next Door (of the U. of I. Women’s Glee Club), No Strings Attached, the X-tension Chords, No Comment and Chai-Town. Many of these other groups are still flourishing today.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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