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    A Cappella Group Finds Harmony


    A cappella is the act of singing without accompanying music or instruments.  Jessica Hoople, the choir teacher and a cappella advisor recently held auditions for an a cappella group, The Royal Tones. Altogether, there are approximately 20 singers in both ensembles.

    “The mixed [ensemble] is meeting now; the women’s [ensemble] starts in January,” Hoople said.

    A cappella is very different from regular choir. They put in approximately the same amount of time, however as a cappella sings without any form of backup, those singers have to be able to cover every note, and any mistakes are glaringly obvious. There is a great deal of pressure on a cappella singers to be perfect.

    “[There is] a little [pressure] but I like knowing where I can improve,” sophomore Eric Sykes said, via text.

    Regular choir is accompanied by piano, band, or recorded music. Any mistakes can easily blend into the sound around them. A cappella singers have to be able to hit every note in their vocal range flawlessly.

    “Basically we had to pick a pop song that showed off our vocal range,” sophomore Sabrina Brown of the women’s ensemble said. “As a soprano I had a limited selection of songs. I ended up singing ‘Bring Me to Life’ [by Evanescence].”

    “[I sang] ‘Fireflies’ by Owl City [for my audition],” Sykes said via text. Owl City, according to its website,, does all genres of music, having worked with Aloe Blacc on ‘Verge,’ and country star Jake Owen on ‘Back Home.

    “Fireflies” from 2009’s Ocean Eyes received a five-times RIAA platinum certification in addition to going #1 in 26 countries, according to

    Bring Me to Life” is considered pop/rock and Evanescence classifies themselves as a rock band.

    Some students, such as Sykes, thought auditions were “pretty stressful.”

    “We won’t be doing any competitions this year as of now, but the mixed [a cappella] will be singing at the winter concert, and both parts of The Royal Tones will be singing at the spring concert,” Hoople said.

    “I know we’ll be doing a December-type thing where we sing Christmas songs,” Sykes said.

    The mixed ensemble of The Royal Tones will be joining Hoople’s regular choir classes and PAAS Vocal in singing in the winter concert.

    “[I’m] more nervous than excited [for the winter concert] but if I make it there then I’ll finally know where my talents lie in all actuality,” Sykes said, via text message.

    The mixed ensemble will be singing a jazz piece called “Chili Con Carne” and “Over the Rainbow”, and the ladies ensemble will be singing the “Bellas Medley” from Pitch Perfect and “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King in the spring concert.

    The roster of the mixed ensemble after all auditions is Jasmine Hart, Alexis Korkos, Nellie Martin, Deja Spicely, Kayla Whittington, Monique Bertrand, Jhalyne Blackwell, Alexis Lyons, Mariah Rogers, Shelby Thompson, Austin Noblin, DeKarius Woodson, Bennett Buetow, Noah George, LeVante Joyner, Francesco Pino, and Eric Sykes.

    “I feel the audience will have as much fun as us. The more expressive we are the more fun everyone’s going to have,” Sykes said.

    “[The Royal Tones] is modern music mixed with older and a collection of the most talented singers in school, it shows off what people can do with their voice,” Brown said. “I honestly believe it’ll be an amazing thing to watch.”

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