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Originally published Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Microsoft's Baudboys singers scoring big with their gigs

While it may not score them points at their next performance review, the men of Microsoft's a cappella group, the Baudboys, have met their...

Seattle Times technology reporter

While it may not score them points at their next performance review, the men of Microsoft's a cappella group, the Baudboys, have met their goal.

About five years ago, the programmers-cum-pop singers started reinventing their sound with an eye on the Harmony Sweepstakes, billed as the "premier American showcase for vocal harmony music."

"We kind of got the idea that we could, if we dedicated ourselves, compete with this," said Dave McEwen, the group's president and a bass/baritone (and a content project manager in Microsoft's Developer and Platform Evangelism group). "So we wrote down our goals, in typical Microsoft fashion, and used it as a cyclical iteration to make ourselves better."

They won the Northwest regional event and will compete Saturday in the national tournament in California.

The group, which split off from another company group called the Microtones in the early 1990s, performed to a packed atrium on the corporate campus Wednesday.

"How cool for Microsoft to have something like that coming from within the ranks," said Shari Fowler, an employee who spent her lunch hour watching the concert.

The Baudboys, whose name is derived from a measurement of modem speeds, played a set ranging from serene Ladysmith Black Mambazo to a brazenly geeky arrangement of "Gonna Make You Happy (Tonight)," written by an Australian comedy trio, Tripod.

A sample of the lyrics: "Before we get down to love, before we get down / I just gotta finish this level / You see I got a high score tonight / And I just wanna save my game ... I think this Xbox / Is the best present I ever bought for you, baby!"

Benjamin J. Romano: 206-464-2149 or bromano@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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