A capella groups join forces for spring concert
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All A cappella.
This Sunday evening, the A cappella vocal lab groups will perform in a two hour concert in the Upstairs Theatre.
The concert will showcase four groups–the ETHS A Cappella Choir, Bazao A cappella, Dazzling Dames, and the Circle of 5ths.
“For the ETHS A cappella group, we’re singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” says junior Remi Welbel. “I’m really excited to perform this song because it has a lot of fun rhythms and people are generally familiar with the song.”
While most vocal concerts feature all groups from chorale to vocal jazz, this concert will exclusively feature vocal groups without instrumental accompaniment.
“A cappella is not the absence of instruments, because the voice is an instrument,” Chorale Director Mary Theresa Reed says. “It’s different because all of the sounds are made from the human body.”
A cappella is Italian for “in the manner of the chapel.” The music refers to group or single person singing without instruments, or a piece intended to be performed this way. It contrasts with “cantata,” which is accompanied singing.
A cappella stems from religious origins, particularly Islamic, Jewish, and Christian music groups. It can be traced earliest to 15th century AD Europe.
“A cappella started as a regular program when I started here 14 years ago,” Reed says. “As a chorale teacher, I think it is necessary to have representation in that genre.”
Along with its rich history, A cappella is proven to benefit academics. According to the SAT College Board, students who participated in music scored 23 points above average in math and 31 points above average in both reading and writing on the SAT.
Because A cappella uses the voice as the only instrument, the genre can be more difficult than others to master.
“To be successful in A cappella, you have to be able to match pitch,” Reed says. “You should also have a good singing voice that blends well with other voices and have a good ear for harmony. Acting skills are necessary because it is very theatrical.”
“You’ve got to be able to stay on your part and keep going,” junior Maggie Ward says. “There’s no instrument to keep tempo so you have to listen to the people around you.”
Along with the required vocal skills needed for A cappella, you must commit your time.
“The ETHS A cappella group meets every Tuesday and Thursday during lunch to learn and rehearse our music. We also have additional rehearsals before concerts,” Welbel says.
The A cappella concert will have free admission for all and begins at 3 pm in the Upstairs Theatre.