GASP defies Valentine’s Day with anti-love songs

A swing concert for all audiences

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Photo by Jessica Rosen '24 | GASP posing for a photo after their show!

On Feb. 12, 2022 at 9 p.m, The Great American Songbook Project (GASP), an ensemble covering music from the 1920s-60s, hosted their annual Valentine’s Day performance and fundraiser, entitled “GASP!: The Great American SINGLES Project” in the intimate setting of the Red Door Cafe. The ensemble focused on songs relating to “anti-love,” or themes of sadness, anger, and confusion surrounding love. 

The entire group started with the song, “I Don’t Know Why (I Just Do),” by Dean Martin and moved into an array of emotional and fun songs. 

“It was great to see them use their voice to promote such a great cause.”

-Gabrielle McCabe ’24

The event was also a fundraiser for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation. “We chose the Lung Cancer Research Foundation for my mom because she suffers from lung cancer,” explained accompanist Emma Roppo ‘23. 

 “So that was really special that people you know were willing to help us fundraise for that foundation,” she said. Over $200 were raised, partly in thanks to the auction GASP also hosted. 

Desmond Reifsnyder ‘22  transformed into an auctioneer for the night. “Desmond as both auctioneer and soloist was iconic; their ability to switch from charismatic auctioneer to heartfelt soloist was excellent,” Lili Daskais ‘23 said.

GASP first auctioned off the opportunity to choose what color GASP member Danny Milkis’ ‘23 hair should be. Milkis, however, was not present due to having contracted COVID and being in isolation. 

Next on the table, a personalized Valentine’s Day telegram from the ensemble. Then, a personalized poem from new member Jules Curtis ‘25.  

And the final two items: a private piano session with Roppo, and a meal cooked by Joshua Myers ‘22. 

 After the auction, Reifsnyder sang a heartful cover of “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” by Chet Baker. 

GASP wanted to flip the script on Valentine’s Day by selecting an array of “anti-love” songs. Love is a very popular topic for the 1920s-1960s music GASP performs, so they wanted something a little different for their concert. 

GASP member Ali Rohrbough ‘22 said, “There’s so many songs that are love-based. So the idea of flipping that around… is right up our alley.” 

Zachary Kleiman ‘25 sang a cryworthy rendition of “Mr. Lonely,” while Sandy McInerney ‘23 and Reifsnyder  performed choreography in the background. “My solo,” Kleiman said, “was very collaborative, very fun, very goofy.” 

Other hits performed include “Please Mr. Postman,” by the Marvelettes, “Shadow of My Smile” by Peggy Lee and many more. 

“I love how they put their own spin on the material,” Gabrielle McCabe ‘24 said. “It was great to see them use their voice to promote such a great cause.”

“Desmond as both auctioneer and soloist was iconic; their ability to switch from charismatic auctioneer to heartfelt soloist was excellent”

-Lili Daskais ’23

Also tying in with the anti-love theme, were the personalized Valentines being sold. They were separated into three categories: “pure,” “eh” and “naughty.” The naughty ones were those not typical to love, but rather bordering on insults. 

Despite this, the concert was a combination of “uplifting spirits” and “helping others in need,” according to Rohrbough. 

Roppo said, “We had a great turnout. GASP is still a pretty new group. So having that turnout was something that was really reassuring, and really fun.” 

The performance also took on a new appreciation since it was their first GASP Singles Project since the pandemic. “It’s a little bit more special,” Rohrbough said about performing in the midst of COVID.  

Kleiman “It’s a great group of people and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

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