Harmonizing girl group The Shamrock Shakes might be new to the Queen’s music scene, but they’ve been practicing for a long, long time – and they’re ready for their big debut. The trio, consisting of fourth year English students Emma Hoffman, Bethany Opler, and Amanda Shechtman, are notorious for filling their houses (and the streets of Kingston) with the sweet sound of their harmonies, covers, and mash-ups. “Emma and I are housemates, and we just sing together all the time,” says Amanda. “We even harmonize when we walk home from the bar sometimes!”
Though the group hasn’t been “official” for very long, they “jam together all the time,” and saw the MUSE X McCafe Acoustic session as “the perfect opportunity to showcase our private harmonies to the rest of the world.” Of their quirky group name, Hoffman explains: “We really love the McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes, so that’s kind of where we came up with the name. Also, two of the band members are red heads, and Amanda’s favorite day of the year is St. Patrick’s day, so it just made sense.”
Here’s what the girls have to say about everyday creativity:
How they got their start in music.
Emma: I got my start in music at age 3 when I started taking singing lessons. When I was younger, my favourite singer was Celine Dion and embarrassingly enough, my first real performance was singing “My Heart Will Go On” for my S.K. class during Show-and-Tell. I must have been a pretty cocky 6-year-old to bring my “talent” to show to the class.
Bethany: I got my start in music when I was in grade 1. I started taking piano lessons and I also had my first singing solo in my class play. My parents still embarrassingly talk about that solo to this day, so I guess you could say grade 1 was a big year for me! I persevered with my piano lessons all throughout elementary and high school and I also took guitar lessons for a few years.
Amanda’s creative outlet:
Amanda: I grew up in a creative home with a scrapbooking mom and a guitar playing dad, so I was always encouraged to do a lot of creative things in my spare time. Now I do a lot of crafting, like making costumes for Halloween and tutus for St. Paddy’s. Other than that and singing, my creative outlet at Queen’s is dance, either through QDC or just being out for the night with friends.
The most rewarding part of being an artist:
Bethany: The most rewarding part of being in artist is when other people recognize and appreciate your creative talents. Performing in front of an audience can be very intimidating, but when an audience cheerfully applauds your creative efforts, I can hardly think of a more rewarding feeling!
The importance of doing what you love, and loving what you do:
Amanda: Doing what you love is everything. After spending four years studying English Literature I have finally realized that I am not the type of person who should have an academic career. I miss being creative all the time, and luckily I will be able to pursue my dream after graduation and start going to school for interior design. I can’t wait to start being creative in a classroom setting. Use your time at Queen’s to discover what you really love to do, and don’t stop until you achieve it.
Emma’s most “creative” endeavour to date:
Emma: My most creative endeavour to date is MUSE Magazine Issue VIII! I am so proud not only to have been a part in producing the issue, but to have worked on it with so many wonderful and innovative people who have really worked hard to bring our original idea to fruition.
A word of advice to aspiring artists.
Emma: The only person holding you back from doing something you love is yourself. Go after what you want!
The Shamrock Shakes will be performing “Travelling Soldier” by one of their favorite groups, the Dixie Chicks.
Abi Conners, Online Director
Photography: Emilie Nolan