The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday October 19th

The Bobs to Perform Silly Show Tonight

Who is this goofy bunch of musicians? They're the Bobs, a celebrated a cappella group touring in honor of their 20th anniversary and spooking up Carrboro tonight in the "Halloween Bobs-a-thon" at the ArtsCenter.

Amy "Bob" Englehardt, the most recent addition to the Bob crew, is coy when explaining the essence of "Bob."

"BOB stands for Best of Breed, a dog show term, as in `This Airedale Terrier was BOB two years in a row,'" she said.

No matter what's behind their name, they've garnered accolades of all sorts.

In addition to their own wacky songs the Bobs have covered such classics as "White Room" by Cream and "Strawberry Fields Forever" by the Beatles. The singers often perform out of their own vocal ranges just to give a song a different feel.

Matthew "Bob" Stull, one of the founding Bobs, is amazed that something he and a friend started as unemployed San Francisco telegram singers in 1981 has become so successful.

"At the time, it really wasn't anything other than a hobby," he said. "It was a surprise beyond belief."

Even after 20 years of writing and performing, the group keeps pumping out unique ideas for new songs.

"I listen to NPR a lot, and sometimes a turn of phrase someone uses hits me like a bright spotlight and sends my brain careening," Englehardt said.

Stull attributes some brainstorms to their typically rowdy audiences.

"I think someone shouted out something one night, and we thought, `Hey, that's a good one,'" he said.

The course of a show is often a reflection of the particular crowd in the audience. "We don't plan what we're going to say between songs, so with four goofy ham balls the banter gets insane," Englehardt said.

With a performance on Halloween, the group expects the audience not to check their boisterousness at the door -- some very "sca-wee" things await them.

"Although we prefer to elicit laughter in audiences, horror will do," Englehardt said. "Perhaps an impromptu Monster Mash will occur."

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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