We reached out to Bridg Gorder, the Business Director of Florida State University’s (FSU) only all-female a cappella group to learn more about what the FSU Acabelles is about! Here is what she had to say:
Her Campus (HC): Tell us about yourself!
Bridg Gorder (BG): My name is Bridg Gorder, and I am a third-year Choral Music Education major at the College of Music. I also study Voice Performance and am heavily involved on campus, both in and out of the College of Music.
HC: Can you tell us a bit about what AcaBelles is?
BG: The AcaBelles is FSU’s premier soprano-alto a cappella group. We have been on campus for over 20 years and have released several albums, EPs and singles, as well as competed and been ranked nationally among other a cappella groups from various universities across the country. We strive to spread the joy of music to the FSU and Tallahassee communities and to give students of all academic interests the chance to participate and make music!
HC: What are some responsibilities you possess as the Business Director of AcaBelles?
BG: As the Business Director, I am in charge of coordinating all of our performances, rehearsals, auditions, officer elections, E-Board meetings, competition participation, social events, travel, retreats, etc. I am the main point of communication between potential customers and the group, as well as between the executive board and our advisor, Dr. VanWeelden. Basically, I cover everything that the other E-Board members do not, as well as ensuring that they are all covering their various tasks.
HC: What are some activities and events you participate in as a member of the group?
BG: The AcaBelles reach far and wide when it comes to our activities and events. We do everything from retreats, such as our trip to Universal Studios last April, to performing at various events on campus, such as Homecoming Live. We also organize socials for the group outside of performances and rehearsals; fan favorites have been the Fat Cat Cafe and bowling!
HC: How often does the group rehearse?
BG: The group has vocal rehearsals twice a week each week that school is in session, so roughly four hours per week. In lieu of larger events or competitions, we also have four hours of choreography rehearsals per week, which are typically on the weekends.
HC: What does a normal rehearsal look like?
BG: Normal rehearsals vary, depending on what we are doing. We always begin with announcements and warm-ups, and if we are learning music, we will usually split into sectionals so our Music Director can work with various voice parts individually. Then, we will all come together to sing at the end of rehearsal. Once we have learned the music, the sectionals are replaced with group work.
HC: Where does the group usually perform?
BG: The AcaBelles perform all over the Tallahassee community and its surrounding areas! The answer to this question is ever-changing because we rarely have gigs that are repeated more than once. Sometimes, we have special projects that require us to be off-site, such as running workshops at Eastside Elementary School in Cairo, Georgia, like last February. On campus, we have performed in the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, Lindsay Recital Hall, Doak Campbell Stadium, Landis Green, etc. You can see us perform at Homecoming Live at the Civic Center on November 9th!
HC: Does the group compete?
BG: The AcaBelles have not been able to compete the last few years due to the pandemic, but we are back this year with the SoJam 2022 Scholastic Competition. We will be in Durham, North Carolina, from November 3rd through 6th to compete in the festival’s last round of competition.
HC: What is your favorite song that the group has sung and arranged?
BG: My favorite song that we have done is “Paper Hearts,” originally by Tori Kelly. You can listen to it on our EP, “Phases.”
HC: Do you have a background in performance or a cappella?
BG: I had never been involved in a cappella prior to attending FSU, but I was an opera singer for eleven years in Denver, Colorado and participated in various choirs and voice programs in the Denver Metro area. I am also a pianist and play a handful of other instruments.
HC: Who can join?
BG: Anyone who can sing soprano or alto is welcome to audition for the group! You do not have to be a music major or minor, but you must be an active student in good standing at FSU.
HC: Do you hold auditions? If so, when?
BG: We hold auditions at the beginning of the fall semester each year. Typically, they are during the second week of classes, and information regarding auditions is posted on all of our social media accounts by the first week of August.
HC: What is your favorite part of being a member of AcaBelles?
BG: My favorite part about being in the AcaBelles is the fact that I am able to connect and share my love of music with people that I may never have had the chance to do otherwise. This includes those who we perform for, but most especially the other members of the group. Through the AcaBelles, I have been able to find some of the most genuine, hard-working, passionate people on this campus, and it is a privilege to not only be a member and leader in the group but a friend and confidant. No matter what happens in my day, rehearsals always have the capacity to make me laugh and smile. I am constantly reminded that music is incredibly valuable and healing. The relationships you form with those you make music with are irreplaceable.
HC: Does the group have any social media accounts where we can see performance videos and other content?
HC: And last but not least, is Being in an a cappella group anything like Pitch Perfect?
BG: Oh, the age-old question. My initial answer to this question is no, but the movie had to be based on something, right? So, I’ll give a tentative yes, kind of for now.
If you are interested in auditioning for the AcaBelles or supporting them at performances such as Homecoming Live (which is coming up soon), be sure to follow them on all social media platforms @acabelles!