DePaul a Cappella Groups Strike a Chord
Since the 2012 release of the movie "Pitch Perfect," the world has come down with a bad case of aca-fever. A Cappella has rapidly taken hold of college campuses across the nation as a dominant art form.
But how accurate is the movie that popularized the instrument-free musical community? As it turns out, when looking at DePaul's a Cappella community, there are areas where the pop culture phenomenon is spot on, and areas where the movie diverges from the interactions amongst groups.
When it comes to the a Cappella community at large, Vince Glaviano, president of InterChorus, one of DePaul's co-ed ensembles, says unlike the movie, DePaul's musical community is tight-knit. "It's all these random people who come together for one specific interest," Glaviano says. "I think that really draws the entire community together."
The roughly 70 students who participate in DePaul's a Capella groups come together with one goal in mind: create great music. However, when not singing, members of each group are as varied as the genres of music they perform, which range from hip-hop to vocal jazz.
"While I'm studying business management, we also have people who are studying subjects such as public relations, English and various sciences," Glaviano says. "You basically have a completely different life than everybody you're with, but that draws the community even closer."
While the a Cappella community certainly has an overarching bond of music, each group has its own unique personality.
When asked to describe itself in one word, each group has a different answer.
Glaviano describes InterChorus as a "family." Danny Geebur, president of DePaul Men's a Cappella, commonly known as DMaC, says that his group is "ambitious." Nicholas Kiepura, president of the Fullertones, meets in the middle with "quirky." Raika Nuñez, president of DePaul Women's a Cappella, known as DWaC, finishes off the list with "dynamic."
The word "dynamic" certainly fits DWaC lately, as the group has found itself at the center of several unique opportunities, from a performance on ABC Chicago's "Windy City Live" to traveling to Washington D.C. to perform at the White House.
Nuñez looks back on the experience fondly, but with memories of a whirlwind. "Planning the White House visit was the most stressful five days," she says. "You get a message asking to respond by tomorrow if you can be there on this day at this time."
All-in-all, Nuñez reports the stress was worth it. While the group did not have the opportunity to meet the first family, the trip helped them bond as a group and allowed them to explore the nation's capital.
But when talking about her favorite DWaC memory, Nuñez doesn't cite the unique opportunities the group has had. Rather, she points to something less tangible.
"My best memory of DWaC is just seeing people grow," she says. "It's incredible to see everybody so comfortable with who they are."
This is a consistent theme throughout the a Cappella community. Regardless of how long a group has been on campus, every group fosters an environment in which members can be themselves.
Nicholas Kiepura loves the environment that the Fullertones cultivates.
"We're always doing fun, goofy things," he says. "We don't really put on a different face for rehearsal."
Much of the fun within groups can be attributed to the varied personalities and experience levels found amongst members. There is no musical background required to audition for a group. Rather, groups search for talented individuals who will mesh well with the existing ensemble.
Danny Geebur of DMaC is a perfect example.
"When I joined the group, I had never been part of an a Cappella group, theatre or choir," he says. "I will always remember coming into a brand new environment and seeing that you don't have to be classically trained to be part of this group."
Geebur's perception is largely representative of the a Cappella community; it is a big group of people who come to sing, but end up a family.
Spring concert dates will be announced in the coming weeks. To catch a performance, you can follow each group here: