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A capella groups kick off new year with pitch-perfect preview

A capella groups kick off new year with pitch-perfect preview
A Justin Bieber cutout guest-starred in On A Sensual Note’s performance in Kay. OASN is AU’s all-male a cappella ensemble.

Forget auto-tune and backtracks. A cappella is the popular trend this year, not only in mainstream culture (exemplified by hit shows like “Glee” and “The Sing-Off”) but also on campus.

AU’s four a cappella groups showed off their talent on Sept. 7 in front of tightly packed pews in the Kay Spiritual Life Center.

The co-ed group Dime A Dozen, decked out in red and black, performed first. The members sang “Gunpowder and Lead” by popular country artist Miranda Lambert, as well as “Change in My Life” and “All the Above” by Maino.

Blends with Benefits took over the stage next singing the radio hit “Somebody I Used To Know” by Gotye. The crowd roared with laughter during a rendition of the “Pokémon Theme Song” then sobered up when they slowed the tempo down with Coldplay’s tearjerker, “Fix You.”

The all-male On A Sensual Note came on stage next accompanied by loud cheers. A highlight of their performance was a serenade mashup of “Sexual Healing” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” sung to an audience member. The group also sang a mashup of “Some Nights” and “We Are Young” by fun., finishing with an energized performance of “Somebody to Love,” accompanied by a cardboard cut-out of Justin Bieber.

The all-girl group Treble in Paradise ended the show with an Adele mashup of “Rumor Has It” and “Someone Like You,” followed by “Not Over You” by Gavin DeGraw. The ladies finished with a tribute to the late Whitney Houston in a mashup of her biggest hits “I Will Always Love You” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

While the groups showed they already had talent, the concert’s main purpose was to attract newcomers to audition for the a cappella groups.

Lucie Alden, a freshman in CAS, wanted to audition for Treble in Paradise before the concert even began.

“I love singing. It defines me,” Alden said. “I want to audition because I like Treble in Paradise’s repertoire.”

For many auditioners, this is not their first time. Elyse Preston, a sophomore in SPA, auditioned last year during the spring and advised first-timers to have fun, to be yourself and to go for it.

Auditions occurred the weekend after the concert with a general audition on Saturday and calls back on Sunday.

Evan Petrone, a junior in SPA and SOC, joined Blend with Benefits his freshman year.

“I didn’t have any singing experience when I first joined,” Petrone said. “But it is a welcoming environment where everyone supports each other.”

Each group has a different audition process. For Blends with Benefits, newcomers must have one song prepared. During the audition, he or she will be asked to sing scales and to sing with the group to see how well he or she can blend. For Treble in Paradise, each person who auditions arrives to their allotted 10 minute slot with a verse and chorus of a pop song. Then he or she will have their tonal memory, or how well they match pitches, tested.

“We look for a wide range, especially during the scales,” CAS junior Maria Schneider of Treble in Paradise said. “While beat-boxing would be great, it is an additional skill we look for.”

Spots are limited for all the groups, but according to Schneider it is worth the time and effort to audition.

“You get to sing at benefits, around D.C. or go on tour to other schools,” Schneider said. “It’s a great opportunity to get involved in AU.”

Full disclosure: Eagle Editor-in-Chief Zach C. Cohen is a member of Dime a Dozen.

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