The DQ of Amherst College

The 1960s: New Sounds

The jazzier sounds with which the DQ had cautiously experimented throughout the fifties became fully integrated into the group’s repertoire in the sixties, as the ‘Q strayed beyond its Dixieland and barbershop heritage into new musical styles. The DQ also moved beyond the eight-man membership that had remained constant since the twenties, experimenting early in the decade with a group of ten to twelve singers. The group released two albums during the decade, D.Q. Adrift (1962) and D.Q. (1965). Despite the popular success of these records, the graduation of much of the group’s musical talent and leadership in the 1966-67 school year dealt a crippling blow to the DQ, and it broke up at the end of the decade. 

From DQ member Peter Sargent, via email in 2001:

In 1965, when I joined the DQ, there were two singing groups on campus (at least the ones I knew about): the DQs and the Zumbyes. I got into both but figured that I had to join the DQ, since my father was in the group. There were eight of us then, two of whom had enough musical talent to write and arrange music. We did gigs around the four college area and did a Spring tour in 1965 in the south. Unfortunately, both of the musically talented folks in the group left school during the 1966-67 year, I believe, and the group did not survive their departure. I didn’t learn for some time whether the group had reformed, but chanced to sing in a San Francisco-based choral group with Steve Peace, about AC ’94 or so, who was in the group. This is good, because I had long suffered feelings of guilt.

I do remember that we sang alongside Pratt pool on Friday of Homecoming, 1965, and started the concert by having the space darkened and by climbing into canoes (as quietly as possible) and by starting our first number while paddling. Wild.

The DQ of the 1960s in the Amherst College Olio