VirtuOSO and Golden Wave Band collaborate with ‘Hamilton’ hits

Story by Brooke Hill | News Editor, Video by Julia Lawrenz | Broadcast Reporter

Saturday’s halftime show will be a unique collaboration between two musical student groups, a capella group VirtuOSO and the Baylor University Golden Wave Band, featuring music from the Tony-award-winning musical “Hamilton.”

Dr. Isaiah Odajima, Director of the Golden Wave Marching Band, said the band had already decided to collaborate with VirtuOSO before the specific idea of doing a Hamilton show came about.

“We always like to do something special for homecoming, and we haven’t collaborated with anyone in the School of Music for a while with the marching band,” Odajima said. “So I just thought this would be a good opportunity for us to feature one of our groups. Thinking about VirtuOSO being something that maybe not all of Baylor knows about, those guys are very well known in their respective area and internationally as a wonderful vocal ensemble group. So I thought it might be good for us to help bring them to light.”

Odajima said this show has been in the works for over a year.

“We started talking about it last year sometime and went through some ideas of how we might incorporate them into the marching band show, and then we talked about Hamilton and its popularity and if we could figure out a way to translate it into marching band, how effective it might be,” Odajima said. “So we started down that road, and a couple months later we got it all worked out.”

VirtuOSO was thrilled to have the opportunity to get more involved on-campus, as Tomball junior and president of VirtuOSO Natalia Araujo said they typically do more off-campus events and competitions. She said although they performed at a basketball game last year, this is likely the largest Baylor audience they will have performed in front of.

“We do a lot of things off campus, so in terms of visibility on campus this is the biggest thing we’ve done for sure,” Araujo said.

Araujo said the audience can expect a show unlike anything they’ve seen at a Baylor game before.

“You can definitely expect just a lot of fun — it’s very fun music and we have the opportunity, because we have our own mics and because we have so much space, to just have a lot of fun, and it’s really great songs,” Araujo said. “It’s songs that a lot of people already know. It’ll be a lot of high energy and really great vocals. It’ll be a very different experience from what people are used to with just the Golden Wave Band.”

Odajima said the group will perform three pieces from Hamilton and will do a preview of the show Friday night at the Homecoming Bonfire Extravaganza.

“We have a limited amount of time at half-time to perform, so we had to choose the three tunes we wanted to perform very carefully … You’ll get to see [VirtuOSO] performing on the field, we’ve created a special stage for them, and the marching band will be doing maneuvers and drill formations around them and it’ll be wonderful because these guys are fantastic singers and I think we’ve done a good job of picking music that everybody will appreciate, even if they don’t know or haven’t seen Hamilton or heard the musical, that they’ll be able to recognize that it’s good music and it’ll showcase our singers really well,” Odajima said.

Araujo said the collaboration highlights the community Baylor has and highlights new traditions.

“I think it’ll relate to the overall Homecoming experience because it is something different than what is usually seen at Homecoming yet it’s still such a big part of Baylor,” Araujo said. We’re fairly new, so it’s something very new for Baylor to experience, and it’s exciting for Homecoming specifically because alumni and students can see this new side of Baylor combined with something that’s already such a big tradition and it shows how big and ever-changing the Baylor tradition can be.”