A Cappella popularity surges


A Cappella attracts talented singers of all ages as a form of practice and competition and now, casual groups at ETHS allow anyone to join in.

“Here at ETHS, we have something for students at any level of musicianship,” says Mary Theresa Reed, Chorale director.

Reed directs multiple a cappella groups, including Bazao and Circle of Fifths, both of which are intended for singers with prior experience and musical knowledge. She is also the head of another, less demanding group that meets at lunch twice a week called The Lunchtime A Capella Group.

The lunchtime group allows students with no prior singing background to experience singing in an a cappella group. The group is non-audition, and is open to anyone who comes to A116 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“I joined the lunchtime group in my first year doing a cappella and really started enjoying it,” says Ryan Foreman, senior member of Bazao, “There I was taught the basics of learning a vocal part, and of a cappella as a whole.” Ryan adds that less formal groups, like the Lunchtime A Cappella Group, are a great way to introduce students to the style of singing.

Along with casual a cappella groups, pop culture has played a major role in its popularity. The hit film Pitch Perfect, released in the fall of 2012, telling the story of a collegiate a cappella group, largely  impacted the popularity. According to the International Championships of High School A Cappella, in the year following the film’s release, the competition received its highest number of applications in history, only to be topped again this year, following the release of Pitch Perfect 2.

According to Reed, this popularity increase has affected ETHS a cappella as well, and has caused a noticeable increase in the amount of student participation.

“In my first nine years of directing a cappella at the school, I averaged about 25-30 students participating in the groups. In the past four years our numbers have only increased, with around 90 students singing this past year,” says Reed. “I attribute this to all of the shows and movies showing a cappella.”

Anika Blitzstein, sophomore, who participated in a cappella last year, sees the increase in student participation in a cappella as a benefit to those involved.

“A Cappella is about working together to create one sound. Learning how to do this is helpful for anyone interested in the music industry,” notes Blitzstein. “And on top of that, it’s a really fun thing to do with other people.”

A Cappella provides young singers with a way to practice, collaborate and perform with their peers in a fun and constructive way. If you have interest in singing, make sure to join an a cappella group.