Today: Jun 24, 2024

Students audition for acapella group on campus

photo courtesy | Darren Yip Chelsea Hubert had a light moment with the judges before presenting her song.

Brittany Davis and Darren Yip Staff Writers

Reminding herself to breathe deeply was the only way to subdue her nerves. Although Michelle Burke has been singing since she was younger, it has been a while since she has allowed her voice to be judged by strangers.

“I’m so nervous, I’m thinking how did I do this in High School,” said Burke. “I’m panicking a little bit, but it’s okay. My voice is a little shaky.”

Burke, along with 15 other female students, waited outside a room in Earl Hall to audition for Southern’s first all-female a cappella group on Thursday, March 21.

Inside the room, each girl had to prepare a one minute song that showcased their vocal ability and personality. They were judged by founders sophomore Spanish secondary major Rachael Polansky, sophomore nursing major Justine Belda, and advisor Thomas Mitchell.

Although students like Burke were nervous facing the judges, Polanksy said she was excited to hear people sing and wasn’t going to be harsh or critical.

“We are on the same level,” said Polansky. “I didn’t want to sit there and think I’m higher up just because I’m judging their performance.”

Polansky said that singing acappella is extremely difficult because singers do not have backup from instruments to help you stay in tune. Polansky said she was looking for girls who have great pitch and who can also belt.

photo courtesy | Darren Yip (From left, Rachael Polansky, Justine Belda and Thomas Mitchel) Students helped organize auditions for a female acapella group.
photo courtesy | Darren Yip
(From left, Rachael Polansky, Justine Belda and Thomas Mitchel) Students helped organize auditions for a female acapella group.

According to Polansky, the inspiration from starting an all-female acappella group came from watching the reality competition show The Sing Off and movie Pitch Perfect. Polansky said she realized acappella has become more mainstream and said she felt Southern needed an all-female group.

Sophomore Mary-Kate Van-Saint, who auditioned singing Rascal Flatts’ “God Bless the Broken Road,” said she too was excited for an a cappella group on campus because of the mainstream popularity.

“My friends and I loved the movie Pitch Perfect. That was kind of my inspiration to audition.” said Van-Saint.

Polansky said she then sought advice from Erik Landry, who created Southern’s first male group the Fortissibros, then started the process with roommate and friend Belda, who together put up flyers and created a Facebook group to spread the word.

Polansky said she felt the auditions went extremely well and hopes to have quality over quantity.

“I’d rather start small and make sure we have solid talent and start from there,” said Polansky. “I’m excited we are getting the ball rolling.”

Polansky excitement was shared by other students who auditioned. Junior psychology major Chelsea Hubert who sang one of Adele’s songs, said she felt it was one of the best auditions she ever had.

“I’m really excited. I’ve been waiting for something like this to arrive,” said Hubert.

Hubert was complimented by the judges for not only her vocal ability but also what the judges called her good spirit.

According to Polansky, she hopes to find girls with both cohesive vocal abilities and cohesive personalities.

“Whenever you get a group of girls together it can go either way,” said Polansky. “We are looking for people with who have good spirits and good attitude and that are also determined and committed like we are.”

Before the auditions, each girl was asked to fill out an information sheet explaining their abilities and music influences. Polansky said she hoped to get a feel of each girl’s personality and taste in music and perform all genres of music that reflect each girl’s taste. She said to wants to have a combined effort from each girl putting together and arranging music.

Polansky said once the group is finally formed she hopes to emulate her high school choir by not only competing, but also by getting involved with the New Haven community by performing for local schools and facilities.

photo courtesy | Darren Yip Chelsea Hubert had a light moment with the judges before presenting her song.
photo courtesy | Darren Yip
Chelsea Hubert had a light moment with the judges before presenting her song.

“In my high school, we performed at senior citizens’ homes and other schools,” said Polansky “I, at least, want to get involved with the New Haven public schools.”

Polansky said that after these auditions she will also do callbacks to make sure girls can also harmonize well with each other.

Although Burke said she felt nervous before auditioning, she received praises from judge Mitchell after singing Christina Aguilera’s ”Have Mercy on Me.”

“I loved your belting tone. When you got loud I got happy,” said Mitchell.

Leaving the audition, Burke said she felt the feedback was helpful and made her more excited.

“I really hope I do make it,” said Burke, “If I do, let’s get it poppin’!”

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