Acapella groups seek new members

Photo by Emma Himmelberger ’20    The Victory Eights performed in Chapin Auditorium Friday night during the Spring Showcase. The V8s were one of the four acapella groups to perform.

Photo by Emma Himmelberger ’20

The Victory Eights performed in Chapin Auditorium Friday night during the Spring Showcase. The V8s were one of the four acapella groups to perform.

BY MIRANDA WHEELER ’20

Mount Holyoke’s acapella community held their Spring Showcase in Chapin Auditorium Friday night. The Victory Eights, M&Cs, Diversions and Nice Shoes came together to exhibit their signature styles, celebrate their history and promote upcoming auditions. The group’s respective sets included arrangements of Sara Bareilles’ “King of Anything”, George Gershwin’s “Summertime” from the opera Porgy & Bess and the V8s’ classic the “Mount Holyoke Drinking Song.”

When not on stage, the performers could be found in the upper balcony, waiting, watching and cheering on other groups throughout the show.  

Members of Mount Holyoke’s acapella community described how the lack of competition creates a light and positive atmosphere and an environment of camaraderie. “[A]ll of our groups are very different but we all love and respect each other,” Anna Woronzoff-Dashkoff ’18, a member of the Diversions, said. “Other schools might have more competition. We’re very much fun-focused. I love that. It’s very relaxed.” 

“As an acapella culture, we don’t fight, we’re all supportive of each other, we’re not tearing each other’s signs down,” said Tori Gernert-Dott ’20. “We all try to be supportive. We all go to each other’s jams.”

Gernert-Dot is a member of the Nice Shoes, a group founded in 1992 that values social justice and chooses music from socially aware artists, while wearing dazzling footwear.

The greater Mount Holyoke community also plays a role in the acapella universe. “There’s so much camaraderie. They’re like little families,”  said Emily Jetmore ’18 of the M&Cs. “I think that’s something Mount Holyoke really breeds in people. It really shows in the groups. There’s a lot of collaboration and community.” The M&Cs, named after the Mount Holyoke tradition, began in 1989 after a group of students harmonized on a road trip to Yale University. Since then they have performed in their signature red and black. 

This culture encourages participation. For Gernert-Dott, the experience is all about trying new things, “If you had told me this time last year I was going to be beat-boxing … I would’ve said you’re crazy.” 

In the long run, the singers make lasting connections with one another. When describing the best part of the acapella experience, Jetmore said,“The friends I’ve made — those are lifelong friendships I’m always going to have.” 

With senior members graduating, a call for auditions was an important feature of the night. For these family-like groups, keeping their troupe full, repertoires fresh, and legacy alive is critical. The groups enthusiastically welcomed aca-hopefuls to auditions over the weekend, and they will be holding individual shows throughout the semester. 

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