Aca-awesome: An introduction to collegiate a cappella

Brought to light by the movie Pitch Perfect, a cappella is becoming increasingly popular on college campuses. Wagner is no exception! We currently have three a cappella groups on campus: Testostertones (all male), Fermata Nowhere (co-ed), and Vocal Synergy (all female and the group I'm in!). For those of you who have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, I'm gonna break it down for you. A cappella music is music sung without any instruments, meaning all of the tones and sounds and beautiful music comes from people's mouths. Most collegiate a cappella groups sing original arrangements of current songs (but sometimes we like to switch it up). There is so much that goes into a collegiate a cappella group so I thought I would give y'all an inside look at what exactly it is we do.

Vocal Synergy at Admitted Students Day

Vocal Synergy at Admitted Students Day

First off, people should know that collegiate a cappella groups are completely student run. Every concert, recording, fundraiser, tour, competition and rehearsal, is done entirely by college students who are also having to deal with schoolwork and figuring out their futures. Outside of rehearsing for several hours weekly, a cappella groups do a lot more than you probably realize.

We have concerts on campus ALL THE TIME. Seriously, if you haven't heard about a single a cappella gig on campus this year, you could be living under a rock. A cappella groups are a popular entertainment choice for school functions such as Parent's Weekend and Homecoming. We also hold own full concerts or joint concerts with other groups, some of which are themed and/or for a charity fundraiser. We also like to have guest groups from other schools sing with us. Check out Epicappella on November 2nd to see all of Wagner's a cappella groups and some guest groups!

Testostertones at Epicappella

Testostertones at Epicappella

If you've seen Pitch Perfect then you already know a bit about a cappella competitions — the biggest one is ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella). A cappella groups from all over the globe gather to compete based on overall performance, from the arrangement to the soloists to the choreography to the general execution of the songs. This year Vocal Synergy will be trying to compete for the first time. WISH US LUCK.

Vocal Synergy in Ithaca

Vocal Synergy in Ithaca

One of my personal favorite parts of collegiate a cappella is going on tour. During tour we network like crazy by singing with and hanging out with other collegiate a cappella groups. The a cappella network is crazy and it's awesome to know other groups on a personal level and even more awesome to be known throughout the a cappella realm as a kick ass group. Tour is also super important for making money by booking gigs. It's a long time to be surrounded by the same people and singing non-stop for days but it's an experience I will always treasure. Vocal Synergy just finished up our fall tour and we had the best time with groups at Brown, Syracuse and Ithaca!

More and more frequently, people are listening to a cappella music for fun. Pentatonix, arguable the most famous a cappella group, has millions of views on their YouTube videos. A cappella groups are recording their music as any band would in a studio and producing full fledged albums that end up on iTunes, Spotify, you name it. There is even an a cappella pandora station! A lot goes into producing an a cappella album: recording, mixing, mastering, making physical CDs, digital distribution. I would know because Vocal Synergy just released their new EP (check it out!). It took about 6 months from start to finish and that's not even including learning the songs!

Vocal Synergy at their EP release reception

Vocal Synergy at their EP release reception

Collegiate a cappella is a staple in colleges around the globe and in my own life. I can honestly say that being in Vocal Synergy has shaped my college experience in ways I never imagined. I really love these girls and all that we do. With the amount of growth we've had in the past four years, I am honored to be a part of that growth. There's so many ways for everyone to get involved in the aca-world whether you sing or not! Come out to a concert, audition for a group, buy a CD, watch/share the new Vocal Synergy music video. Just get in on all the aca-love. You won't regret it.

WATCH THE NEW VOCAL SYNERGY VIDEO AND LIKE/FOLLOW ALL OF THE WAGNER GROUPS ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER.

Carrie Holt

Author: Carrie Holt

Carrie is a senior physics major from South Carolina with a passion for astrophysics and music. You can most likely find her geeking out about physics and outer space, singing with Vocal Synergy or hanging out with her best friends.

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