A capella groups combine forces

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Two a capella groups on campus put aside their competitiveness with each other and combined their talents to create a fun and unique perfect pitch. Pacific’s female a capella group, Voce Femme and male a capella group, Splendid Audacity have been performing together for about one year.

Splendid Audacity Student Director Eric Asakawa said they started to perform together in the winter of last year and their first combined performance was in the spring.

“We are all friends and we are really supportive of each other,” said Voce Femme Student Director Nicole Lewey. “It’s fun to perform together as one group.”

In the beginning of each school year, student directors of the a capella groups hold auditions.

“It’s a hard decision to make,” said Lewey, junior. “But we really try and create a new blend of voices each year.”

New voices can change the group and while the majority of the group is usually returnees from the previous year, a new unique voice is something a director cannot let go.

“Since there is no credit earned for being a part of an a capella group, we only get the people who are really passionate about music and who want to go above and beyond,” said Asakawa, senior.

Voce Femme and Splendid Audacity practice their individual pieces for three hours during practices three days a week. Sometimes the individual groups have a half rehearsal to work on their combined pieces and work on repertoires that are not just male or female.

To stay on pitch, it takes a lot of training and practice.

“We start off learning the musical pieces with pianos,” said Asakawa. “After having that pitch in our ears, we get to the point where we don’t need those references anymore and rely on listening to each other.”

During their performances, the directors will sometimes have percussion instruments or utilize body percussion, which involves clapping or stomping. In Splendid Audacity, Asakawa said they would use beat boxing as well. The use of a piano or a guitar would never be used during an acapella performance.

As directors, their role consists of finding music, leading rehearsals, setting up events and communicating with people about their performances. Asakawa and Lewey are getting ready for their performance at The Grotto in Portland on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.

“We host one concert a year that is just for small ensembles,” said Asakawa. “The Grotto is entirely programmed and scheduled by us.”

This program showcases a bunch of choirs from Oregon and Vancouver.

“It is very fun to sing in,” said Lewey. “Especially since we are surrounded by the Christmas Festival of Lights.”

Voce Femme and Splendid Audacity are also preparing for the Holiday Choral Concert Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. in Taylor Meade Performing Arts Center. Splendid Audacity will be performing a mash-up of the tune from the movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Carol of the Bells.”

“It has the same time signature and it is really fun,” said Asakawa. “We will also be performing other sacred literature.”

Voce Femme will be doing a fun piece to “Dancing Sugar Plum Fairy” with voices and will also be working with some spiritual pieces as well.

“It is a really beautiful piece,” said Lewey.


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