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Penn to Unveil New A Cappella Group Made Up of Just People Coughing in Fisher Fine Arts Library

/ An ambitious cougher gives it her best go. / Credit: Adrian Rafizadeh and Norah Rami

It started with a cough. And then another. That’s when Eric Schmitt (N’24) came up with an idea.

“I realized that some exceptional students in quiet spaces on campus — like Fisher and CIS lectures — can’t help but cough in such beautiful musical harmony. I wanted to make sure that potential didn’t go to waste. The Penn community needed to hear this more often than they already do,” he told UTB in an exclusive interview.

Schmitt founded the Treble Cough acapella group to do just that: amplify the sounds of Penn’s most prolific disruptive coughers.

He began the recruitment process by identifying the greatest coughs in Fisher, evaluated based on decibel count, cadence (1, 2, 3; or 1, 2; or 1, 2, pause, 1), wetness, and complexity of sound. Each cougher which impressed Schmitt then received an inconspicuous flyer under their door with the phrase “Nice cough, bro” and instructions to meet at midnight under the Tampons. Reportedly, every flyer recipient showed up to the closed auditions.

After a rigorous process which tested endurance, projection, and “social fit,” Schmitt created his crew. 

Angie Liu (W’26), who joined the Femme Phlegm subgroup within Treble Cough, is thankful to be inducted into such a selective club — but can’t help feeling a bit of impostor syndrome. “I feel like I was only chosen because of the frat flu I got from Pike last week. What if it wears off? I hope I can keep up.” 

Their debut performance, entitled Hack-o-Lantern, will take place on Halloweekend. Tickets can be bought for $10 at Student Health Services.