BOKA is a co-ed, collegiate a cappella group based at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. We perform and arrange songs ranging from classic rock to pop to traditional melodies. Our members share an enthusiasm for music as a mode of self-expression and entertainment, and value its ability to bring together people from a wide array of backgrounds and lifestyles. In performance, BOKA aims to strike a balance between musicianship and fun, believing that if our audiences can see how much we love making music, our excitement will be infectious.
BOKA is known to be a group on campus that has members from all different social circles. Our members reach far over the variety of athletics, academics and arts offered at Bowdoin. We are proud to say our members are part of everything from track, lacrosse, golf, frisbee, tennis and skiing to majoring in STEM, government, Asian studies, GSWS, economics, and Romance languages. We have members in the African-American society, Asian Students Association, Out Peers/Out Allies, Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence, V-Day, ACE, the college houses, dance groups, sketch comedy, improv, Bowdoin Student Government and more. Of course, our members extend their musical talents beyond BOKA and participate in musical theater, Bowdoin Chorus, Bowdoin Chamber Choir, chamber ensembles, and private voice/instrument lessons.
BOKA was founded in 1996 as BOCA (Bowdoin’s Omnium-gatherum Collegiate Acappella) in order to meet the desire of Bowdoin’s newly co-ed campus for a group comprised of both men and women. In the intervening years, the Best of College A cappella CD series–also abbreviated “BOCA”–gained popularity and, in order to avoid confusion, Bowdoin’s BOCA began the search for a new name.
After various permutations, the group decided that in order to remain in the spirit of BOCA’s original mission, the name should remain phonetically the same, with the substitution of a “K” for the “C”. In the intervening years, group members have garnered much amusement for inventing phrases for which “BOKA” might be an acronym, but the truth is that, though the spelling may have changed, the group’s commitment to music as a basis for the facilitation of a positive group dynamic–beginning with the group and its members, but extending to our interactions with our audiences and the world at large–remains the same.
To see pictures, posts, linked videos and events happening in real time, follow us on Instagram @bokabowdoin!