Hitting a high note: Whitman’s a cappella groups prepare for another semester

Tenzin Udin, Campus Life Reporter

On Sept. 8 and 9, over 35 students came out to audition for Whitman’s three a cappella groups: Schwa, Sirens and the Tones. Out of a fairly competitive pool, Schwa accepted four new members; Sirens accepted eight and the Tones have accepted four new members thus far.

All three groups are looking forward to their upcoming performances over the course of the semester. Senior Izzy Mullins, who is part of Schwa, the mixed-voice group, said that their first performance will be on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Gesa Powerhouse Theater. There, they will be singing in harmony with a professional a cappella group called the Bauds. All the a cappella groups will be performing during Whitman’s Family Weekend on Oct. 22. 

Mullins enjoys the community aspect of being in an a cappella group, in addition to the singing itself.

“We are a bunch of musical people who love to sing and/or beatbox,” said Mullins in an email to The Wire. “We also arrange our own music and make a medley each year for the showcase with the other groups. It’s great because even if you come into Schwa with no music theory experience, everyone comes together and works on the medley as a team. It’s always a fun and safe learning environment filled with creativity and joy!” 

Luke Patrick, a senior theater and psychology double major, has been a member of the Tones—the tenor-bass a cappella group—for the past three years. Similar to Mullins, Patrick appreciates the bonding aspect of being in an a cappella group.

“The Tones have always been a safe space for me to be myself,” Patrick said. “I always say we’re a group that takes a cappella seriously, but don’t take ourselves seriously. Being able to sing in a non-competitive or academic sense with your friends makes it super exciting to go to rehearsal three times a week, even if some of those rehearsals start at 10 p.m.”

Sophomore Stella Coomes is a current member of Sirens, Whitman’s a cappella group for soprano and alto voices. Coomes feels that rehearsals are a space for her to be herself.

“We can do music and also be ridiculous and silly, which you wouldn’t be able to do in a more professional/academic setting,” Coomes said. “Rehearsals really just feel like hanging out with friends. It’s a creative group project and a great experience to work with people who also are really excited to be there. It provides an opportunity for singing and arranging composition to be relaxed, fun hobbies.” 

All three students agreed that being in an a cappella group is a fun and rewarding experience, and all of these groups hold a very special place in their hearts.