A cappella: where less is more

ON KEY: Ross Reeder '14 and Aaron Brehm '14 practice with the rest of Priority Male. They rehearse during lunch in the choir room.
ON KEY: Ross Reeder ’14 and Aaron Brehm ’14 practice with the rest of Priority Male. They rehearse during lunch in the choir room.

No instruments, no conductor, just voices and some sheet music. What could you possibly do with with only voices? As it turns out, many great things can happen, including the a cappella groups of West Side: Perfect Pitches and Priority Male.

The first step to join Perfect Pitches, the girls’ a cappella group, is to go to a meeting that the officers hold at the beginning of the school year and to pick the audition times. At the actual audition, students are asked to sing one-minute of a solo song that shows off their range for the four officers.  That is not the final deciding level of the process. Students also have to receive a callback to move on with the admittance process.

At the callback, it’s a more detailed evaluation of their ability to harmonize and read music. From there, the officers decide who has earned a spot in the group. According to Chloe Davis ’14, president of Perfect Pitches, there were twenty-seven girls who auditioned and twelve that made it into the group.

On the other side of the spectrum, Priority Male has a much simpler process for auditions. Students have only one audition where they also prepare a solo and show off their range. The whole group votes and turns in a ballot. After the ballots are counted, the students find out whether they made it in the club.

Some join to have fun with friends and simply sing for fun but two-year participant Stephen Sutton ’15 had a technical reason to audition his freshman year.

“I joined because I like singing and choir didn’t fit into my schedule,”  he said.

Both groups have the same primary goal: to provide entertainment and show off their singing skills. They sing at choir concerts, at lunch, and at other special events. Perfect Pitches practices every Monday and Thursday at lunch while Priority Male loosens up their vocal chords every Tuesday and Thursday at lunch.  Both groups are mainly student-led, but Mr. Waltz is their official supervisor.

” We pretty much function on our own. I guess you could say the officers run the meetings, but really all the girls just know what needs to be done, so it’s always really productive,” said Davis. 

The next step is choosing the songs and practicing them.  It’s a group effort for both Perfect Pitches and Priority Male. They see what sheet music is available in an a capella arrangement and vote on the songs collectively.

Lastly, the venue needs to be chosen. There are no specific a cappella concerts at West Side but for both the girls and the boys, they sing at some choir concerts, an Purdue a cappella concert and some special events like Red Ribbon Week.

It may take hard work and a lot of practices but according to Ross Reeder ’14, president of Priority Male, it’s all worth the fun of working with each other.

“Being president is a really great experience. I get to lead a great group and see how much we all improve as we prepare for more performances,” said Reeder.

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