Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Former Student Brings A Cappella Group to School

Published April 15, 2004

Our Lady of the Assumption School 1997 alumnus Mark Dunn came back for a special visit to his elementary school and parish on March 15 and brought 14 of his Yale classmates with him.

Dunn, a freshman at Yale University, is studying accounting. He started singing in high school at Marist School, Atlanta, and when he arrived on the Yale campus this fall, he was impressed by the “amazing a cappella scene” he found. Yale was recently featured on CBS about the growth of a cappella groups on college campuses. Yale is famous for its senior men’s group, the Whiffenpoofs, organized in 1909. Since then, 15 additional groups ranging from Christian music to pop rock to jazz have been formed on campus.

Dunn is a member of Yale’s Mixed Company. As the name implies, the group is co-ed and has an eclectic repertoire of new radio songs, Broadway tunes and some old standards. During school breaks, the 15-member group tours the United States and Europe. Their most current recording, “Trespassing,” provides a good sampling of their variety. Eve Fairbanks, the group’s technical director, is from Washington, D.C., and is a junior at Yale. The group works on their musical arrangements together. Tory Nelson, a freshman from New York, said, “Mark is especially good at figuring out the great percussion sounds that go so well in our arrangements.”

Said Dunn, “We always tailor our performances to fit our audiences, and younger groups are always a favorite.”

Our Lady of the Assumption School students were captivated by the group’s outstanding a cappella performance. Students thought it was incredible how the group could use their voices to make so many musical sounds to accompany the lead singer. Many students commented that they would be sure winners on the “American Idol” contest.

Bennie Smith, assistant principal, said, “It’s wonderful that our students have the opportunity to hear this exciting group of college students. It was a great learning experience for some of our younger students who had never heard an a cappella performance before today. We are especially proud that one of our alumni is a member of this prestigious group.”

OLA was the only archdiocesan school to be included on the Mixed Company’s tour. Following both performances the group answered questions from the audience and spoke with individual groups of students. A lot of the questions were about college life at Yale. OLA’s staff and Home and School Association treated the Ivy League singers to a little Southern hospitality by dishing them out a good Southern breakfast.

Dunn is the son of Marcia and Tom Dunn of Our Lady of the Assumption Church. For information on Yale’s Mixed Company, visit