“The Wellesley Widows, Dressed to Kill Since 1949,” a 12-voice, all-female a cappella group from Wellesley College in Massachusetts, will be in concert in the Spanish Colonial church. The chapel functions as a parish church on Sundays. The 62-year-old women’s music ensemble is one of the nation’s oldest collegiate ensembles.
The concert is free and open to the public. Pews which will seat four, however, may be reserved with a $75 contribution to the group by contacting the Presidio at 645-3752. Donations and sales of the choir’s CDs also will be accepted to help defray the group’s travel costs.
“We are truly excited about having this outstanding group,” said Newton M. Warzecha, longtime director of the Presidio. “The Widows have recorded 12 albums and toured the world from coast-to-coast to the Caribbean; from the Woodstock Chilifest to the White House, as well as the Smithsonian Museum and Boston Symphony Hall.
“Their repertoire, which crosses several genres, specializes in popular music from the 1950s to the present,” Warzecha added. “It should be a delightful and appealing evening for a diverse audience. The Widows are an impressive, enjoyable and entertaining ensemble.”
The group’s spring tour also is expected to take them to Austin, where it will perform in the State Capitol rotunda. For several of the singers, it will be a “homecoming”: Christy Burke, a senior from Austin majoring in Russian language and literature, and Amy Kimm, a junior biology major from San Antonio.
Other “Widows” include Christine Chen, Laura Delude, Mary French, Amanda Gaynor, Betsy Grether, Carolyn Jackson, Camden Louie, Jennifer “Faa” MacDonald, Noorheen Meghani, Morgan O’Grady, Julia Shew, Eugenia White and Janna M. Zimmerman.
Attendees can expect to hear Rihanna’s “Disturbia,” Marina and the Diamonds’ “I Am Not a Robot,” The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” and La Roux’s “I’m Not Your Toy.”
They will sing hits by Justin Timberlake, The Beatles, Kelly Clarkson, Yael Naim, Phil Collins and a girl group medley that salutes The Shangri-Las, Betty Everett, The Dixie Cups, The Supremes and Nancy Sinatra.
What began as an octet in 1949, now has a living legacy of more than 200 Wellesley Widows worldwide, many of whom have performed with a cappella groups nationwide, and many of whom have started new groups after their own graduation.
The women perform in all black, in keeping with their name, which derives its connection to the nickname for the wives of golf players, “golf widows.” The Widows had a tradition of opening performances with “We are the College Widows,” a song borrowed from the Yale Whiffenpoofs’ “Mimi the College Widow.”
The Widows recent albums include “Black Diamond” in 2009, and “Unwed” in 2007 — a dark collection of songs nominated for two Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA) – best female collegiate album and best female collegiate song.
Wellesley is a 135-year-old liberal arts college for women 12 miles west of Boston. It has 2,300 students, nearly 36,000 living graduates and includes such alumni as Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69, Diane Sawyer ’67, Madeleine Albright ’59, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek ’17, and more.