A look into A Cappella

Valentina Rojas, Staff Writer

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Being stuck in a car during a snowstorm for five hours singing Mariah Carey songs was a great opportunity for the a cappella club Perfect Pitch to bond.

The high school is home to the a cappella groups Note-a-fy, Perfect Pitch and Testostatones, all of which are student-run and led.

They each turn popular songs into a cappella style, which students said affects how the group sounds as a whole.

Senior Audrey Stitt, who performs in Perfect Pitch, said the group must be completely in synch in order for their songs to sound good.

“It’s really important that we blend well and listen to each other in order to sound our best,” Stitt said. “Having a good and understanding group dynamic is key.”

While it is important to create a comfortable environment while rehearsing, it can be easy to lose focus, Testostatones leader senior Mike Suh said.

“The group atmosphere in the T-tones, at least, is pretty friendly, but it can sometimes get a little bit too easygoing and people lose focus really often,” Suh said.

According to Perfect Pitch sophomore Katie Suh, the group arranges new songs once every three months.

Freshman Denise Rogozin, a member of Perfect Pitch, said the first step is to take a track of the background music, including the vocal solo, and turn it into a cappella style.

Katie Suh said the next step is to look at the voice parts to figure out what the lower and higher parts are, and decide who would sing which part, at what tempo. After all this is done, Perfect Pitch puts the background back into the music and starts rehearsing. The group is able to learn a new song in around two weeks, Katie Suh said.

Testostatones has a very similar style to arranging music. According to Mike Suh, the group first divides the music into vocal parts, taking into account how they want the piece to sound overall.

“We’ll listen to the song, work out the basic chord progressions and figure out how to replicate these sounds in four voice parts,” Mike Suh said. “Basically what goes over that is a lot of thought toward how we want it to sound tonally and vocally, and what texture we want certain parts of the songs to have.”

Stitt said she loves songs that are bouncy, and that have a lot of dancing involved.

“The songs I like to sing the best are the more upbeat ones where we are all dancing and bobbing, because it is more engaging to watch performers visibly having fun,” Stitt said. “It’s also more fun to sing when the audience is more engaged.”

Mike Suh says that one of the Testostatones’ most recognizable songs, “Just Hold On, We’re Going Home,” by Drake is his favorite to perform.

“It’s a really high-energy, recognizable song, and we have a lot of fun on- stage doing it,” Mike Suh said. “It shows off a lot of our different soloists, so it really feels like our strongest performance piece all in all. We all arranged that song together so it carries a sense of community with it too.”

The sense of community is strong in Perfect Pitch as well. According to Stitt, the group has been making a greater effort to bond this year by hosting dinners on the first Sunday of each month.

Mike Suh said that while being in the group and leading it at times is stressful, they always remember to have a good time.

“We mostly do a good job at remembering that at the end of the day we’re the dudes putting boxers on over our pants and pretending to be ladies’ men.”

Valentina Rojas can be contacted at [email protected]