A cappella has long since been a large part of the high school’s performing arts program. There are four a cappella groups at the high school: Ladies First A cappella, A cappella Anonymous, and Renegade A cappella, and Inchordination A Cappella.
Originally founded as a class called A cappella, choral leader Dr. Kevin Mcdonald (DMac) inherited the course when he became a teacher at the high school in 2004. He then turned it into an after-school club. The club soon developed into Renegade A cappella in 2008, the first ever a cappella group at the high school. As the overseer of choral activities and a cappella, Mcdonald helps to recruit members, makes artistic decisions regarding music, and develops individual and ensemble music relationships.
Since the creation of a cappella, it has transformed into a completely student-run organization with elected student leaders. It is a community of talented singers and is well known for its close-knit relationships and good spirits.
Every year, there is an enormous turnout for Acatober, an annual concert tradition at the high school that occurs in October. Acatober is the first concert of the year for a cappella groups, and this year Acatober happened on October 22 and 23.
“It still surprises me how many people will attend this concert purely for the enjoyment of choral voices, the energy of the groups, and the impressive reputation this event holds,” said music leader of Ladies First, Brooke Ryan ‘22.
The bulk of behind-the-scenes practice occurs during outside-of-school rehearsals where singers prepare for Acatober. For Inchordination A cappella, rehearsals occur twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays. Leaders often encourage group members to have sectionals with their sopranos, altos, tenors, and bases in order to make a better blend of music. Sectionals happen outside of rehearsal and allow singers to fine-tune their voices.
Generally, music leaders of each A cappella group run rehearsals and help manage group members with the learning process of their individual voice parts.
“I not only arrange music for the group but also make sure there is good group dynamics and everyone’s tone is correct and sounds good as a whole. I’m actually currently arranging Valerie by Amy Winehouse for Acactober,” said co-music leader of A cappella Anonymous, Nick Sydorenko ‘22.
While music leaders have various roles to fill, another key component to the success of these groups are the business leaders. Business leaders are in charge of non-music related logistics such as managing finances, organizing events, and communicating with other organizations.
“I plan gigs outside of school that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. My favorite gig was one we did recently where we sang at a wine and cheese tasting event at Fells Market,” said business leader of Inchordination A cappella, Austin Herlihy ‘22.
According to many of the non-leader members of a cappella, the experience is just as rewarding. Group members find A cappella a safe haven to practice music, discover themselves as singers, and establish lasting friendships.
While a cappella has only existed for 13 years at the school, it is expected that their legacy will live on for many more generations.
“As a singer of A cappella Anonymous, I feel like I have found myself in this group. I love the people of AA and I feel so comfortable with everyone. We’re not just a group of voices that work well together, we’re also a huge family and treat each other as so,” said group singer of A cappella Anonymous, Georgia Spangler ‘23.