A cappella community finally expands after an audition-less year

A look at the fall 2021 audition season

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The Center for the Arts | Photo by Amanda Clark '22

Over the past two weeks, the Baker Center for the Arts has been bustling with eager vocalists, audition cuts in hand, waiting for one of six opportunities to be accepted into a like-minded community of artists and friends.

It is no secret that the a cappella community is a massive force at Muhlenberg College, and the six individual organizations take part in numerous musical and social events across campus over the course of any given academic year. Some favorites include ‘Berg’s Got Talent in the fall, as well as multiple cabarets and themed performances throughout the semester.

Each of the groups also has its own unique theme, which provides structure for repertoire and performance details. The Dynamics, Muhlenberg’s oldest a cappella group, focuses exclusively on mainstream and alternative pop music. Acafellas is comprised of male-identifying and nonbinary members and CODA is comprised of non-cis-male-identifying members, and there is also a heavy pop influence in both groups’ music styles. 

At long last, the callback list was released to the public by a cappella council president Zach Rabishaw ‘22. 

“Thank you all SO much for coming out to auditions this semester, we had so much fun getting to hear you all sing,” stated Rabishaw, in an email to all of the groups and auditioners. “If you don’t see your name on these lists, please don’t be discouraged! Many people audition multiple times before they get into a group, and we’d all love to hear you again. A no right now does not mean a no forever.”

Each group ended up accepting between five and eight new members, following a period of deliberation between the executives. Many of the groups held their first rehearsals on Monday night, Sept. 20.

“The amount of genuine laughter we had in the matter of one night warms my heart,” says Elaina Ragusa ‘23, a new member of the Chaimonics. “I feel so loved and can’t wait to make music with such amazing people!”

“I’ll be honest, going to the first rehearsal was a little intimidating,” explained Sandy McInerney ‘23, a new member of the Acafellas. “But once I got there I knew I had nothing to worry about. The first rehearsal just made me more excited for the rest of the semester.”

Now that Muhlenberg has adopted a singing policy— vaccinated people may sing indoors with masks and without masks during performances— there has been a return to a degree of normalcy. In accordance with the established policies, groups have the ability to run their rehearsals in the same spaces and with the same acoustics as they had prior to the March 2020 shutdown.

“But once I got there I knew I had nothing to worry about. The first rehearsal just made me more excited for the rest of the semester.”

-Sandy McInerney ’23

“It’s definitely a breath of fresh air. There’s so much excitement in the room over having new members, especially considering how many there are,” says Jake Watzman ‘22, member of Noteworthy. “The last time we took newbies was January 2020, so we’re a very tight-knit, close community of people at this point. But we’re definitely ready for it to expand!” says Jake Watzman ‘22, member of Noteworthy. “The last time we took newbies was January 2020, so we’re a very tight-knit, close community of people at this point. But we’re definitely ready for it to expand!”

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