About Us

Our story begins with four graduate students in fall 2012, and a few glasses of beer at an undisclosed location. Realizing that grad life can be improved simply by singing, the founders decided to spread the love of music to the graduate population at the University of Michigan. They named us GradTONES, or “Graduate Troupe Of Needlessly Educated Singers.”

The goal of GradTONES is to provide an opportunity for graduate students throughout the University of Michigan to rehearse and perform unaccompanied vocal music (a cappella) from a variety of popular genres. GradTONES is a great opportunity for UM graduate and professional students to find work-life balance by singing with and befriending fellow students from across the university. If you’re interested, feel free to contact us or, better yet, audition!

Frequently Asked Questions:


GradTONES provides an amazing community outside of your graduate program. It also forces you to have a work-life balance (something grad students are notoriously terrible at) because you've made a commitment to leave your lab and sing with some really great people two nights per week. If making music and friends is important to you, TONES is the perfect outlet. Plus, look how cute we are!

What's the time commitment?

We rehearse 4 hours a week, typically in the evening two nights per week. You can probably expect a couple extra rehearsals leading up to our concerts at the end of each semester, but they usually include mimosas. We typically have one concert per semester, and are occasionally asked to sing at events on campus.

Is that feasible with a grad student schedule?

We know, you should be writing.  Same here.  Of course, conflicts sometimes come up - conferences, deadlines - but group members will tell you that 4 hours a week is completely doable, and a really wonderful excuse to take a break and distract yourself with music. Many of us even find that having this commitment actually helps with time management and productivity!

I've never done a cappella before. Is that okay?

Yes! That's absolutely fine. If you love singing, we'd love to hear you audition, no matter what your background is!

How do I audition?

This semester, our first round of auditions is virtual and asynchronous, so you can audition from your own couch! Please see our "Auditions" tab for more info on what the process looks like this semester.

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