The Binghamton Crosbys aren’t much for subtlety. Posters for their upcoming show, “The Penis Dialogues,” depict two large cartoon penises, but pushing boundaries is just their way of operating.
Binghamton University’s only all-male a cappella group will put on their annual spring concert at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Watters Theater in the Fine Arts Building.
Music fans attending “The Penis Dialogues” will have the opportunity to hear a cappella renditions of popular songs by The Talking Heads and other well-known artists ranging from Avicii to The Who.
Choosing racy names for their concerts is a long-standing Crosbys tradition, according to Jeremy Ecock, a graduate student studying mechanical engineering. Past titles include “Planet Girth,” “Climax 3D,” “Our Stimulating Package” and “Red, White and Beer.”
“The title almost never has anything to do with how we structure our show,” Ecock said. “And with ‘The Penis Dialogues,’ there’s nothing really relevant with that either.”
He said the decision to call the show “The Penis Dialogues” was controversial even within the group, though he said it is still less controversial than the Crosbys’ 2007 spring show titled “Country Blumpkin Jamboree.”
“I’m still surprised how that actually got through,” Ecock said. “I think the only reason why it made it through is because not many people knew what a blumpkin was.”
At their fall 2011 concert, “America Runs on Drunkin,” the Crosbys incorporated stomp, beatbox and live skits into their covers of popular songs. Fans can expect more of the same this weekend at “The Penis Dialogues.”
“The thing that sets us apart from other a cappella groups is our choreography,” said Kristopher Siriban, business manager of the Crosbys and a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering. “Besides singing, we like to put on a good show.”
He added that the Crosbys also incorporate their comedy into every performance.
“Some of the lyrics — if you listen to the background — we sing some pretty disgusting stuff,” Siriban said. “It’s, like, funny for us and nobody really notices because they’re listening to the soloist.”
Ecock said all of these elements combine to make a performance by the Crosbys truly special.
“You leave the show and you’re satisfied because you saw a show, rather than an a cappella concert,” Ecock said.
The Binghamton Crosbys began in the early ’80s by performing jazz standards and slowly progressed to performing more modern songs by artists such as Frank Zappa and The Who, Siriban said. He added that the Crosbys’ repertoire is continuing to evolve.
“The thing about college is there’s people always graduating and new people are coming in,” Siriban said. “So our repertoire always changes.”
The Crosbys will celebrate their 30th anniversary next year. The long history of the Crosbys has made tradition and alumni very important, Siriban said. During each concert, the current Crosbys ask alumni to come on stage and join them for their alumni song, “Strike Up the Band.”
“We have a very strong alumni background,” Siriban said. “One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is being a Crosby.”
Alumni still share the Crosbys’ strong sense humor.
“We were sent a box of some old T-shirts and trophies from some alumni,” Siriban said. “And one of the T-shirts, when we opened it up, said ‘I’m in The Crosbys. Show us your tits.’”
To celebrate their 30th anniversary, the Crosbys are recording a CD at Sled Dog Studios in Rochester. Siriban estimated that the CD will be available some time next spring.
Tickets for “The Penis Dialogues” cost $6 and are available online or at the Anderson Center box office.
Mike Huchital, the musical director of the Crosbys and a senior majoring in biochemistry, suggested that anyone interested should buy a ticket before the show sells out.
“Order ahead, we’ve sold out the last couple semesters so it’s important that you order your tickets ahead of time and not show up at the door late,” Huchital said.
[Pipe Dream is proud to disclose that a member of our Executive Board, Opinion Editor Jordan Rabinowitz, is the current president of the Binghamton Crosbys.]