Girls Next Door rocks the CA

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Muhlenberg’s friendly all-woman acapella group the Girls Next Door rocked the CA Galleria last Monday, ‘wrapping’ up their performance season this semester. Their show, titled “Doors next to Girls,” featured well-known pop tunes such as “Water Under the Bridge” written by Adele with a solo performed by Francesca Jones ‘21; “Many the Miles” written by Sara Bareilles with a solo performance by Helena Bryant ‘21; and “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande, arranged and performed by co-musical director of the ensemble Eliana Swartz ‘19.

Muhlenberg friends and family of the group’s members attended the GND concert, leading to a packed house and engaged audience. Co-Musical Director Allie Benbenek ‘20 was thrilled with the outcome of the performance, saying, “I think it went amazing, I’m so proud of them! We learned all of this music so quickly, especially for the new members. They come in and learn 20 songs in a semester. It was a great, great show.”

Starting her first year as one of the musical directors, Benbenek said, “I’ve been a member for the past two years and I’ve gotten to watch other musical directors in the past and see how they’ve been doing it. I just hope to fill the shoes that they had filled previously. Rehearsals typically start with business, whether that be gig opportunities that come to us or other things like Birthday Grams or housekeeping type information. Our lovely president typically runs that portion. After that, Ellie and I like to start off by leading a warmup, to get the energy going and the vocal cords ready! We rehearse so late at night, so it’s necessary to warm up so we don’t hurt our vocal cords.”

Benbenek continues, “I run rehearsals with my [co-director], Ellie [Swartz]; we plan ahead of time what we’re going to do. I like to think we’ve done a great job. I try to keep a positive attitude in rehearsals. If things end up sort of off, then we stop for the night and work on a different song. But I try to keep the positive attitude and positive reinforcement, because if you go into a rehearsal and you’re really authoritative, you’re not going to get what you want out of it.” Girls Next Door has 14 members, varying from theatre to math majors. The girls support each other and balance their other activities well, as many of them are involved in other performance ensembles and organizations.

Considering the strong female power they were giving off during their performance, Benbenek was excited to share the role she believes that Girls Next Door plays both on and off campus. “We love to have fun and we love to lift other people up. We get asked to do a lot of gigs that are women-empowering. Over the summer we did a gig in Boston that was a women-empowerment conference, and that was such an amazing experience. On campus we find that there’s a lot of people that love to watch us to perform, and we love to perform.”

Benbenek’s method of running rehearsals is clearly working, because the entire ensemble shared a strong sense of sisterhood with the audience, joking with each other and enjoying their performance throughout the show. Commenting on their camaraderie, Benbenek said, “We are all completely, madly in love with each other. During the audition process, we try to look for people who not only can sing great, but fit our style and group mentality. Over the past couple of years, we’ve found such an amazing group of women, and we are all so empowering and support each other.”

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