Meet the Newest Addition to GAC's Music Community, GWac!

For this piece, I was debating whether to write about guac or GWac, which is Gustavus Women’s A capella. So I asked myself, why not both? A couple months ago, GWac formed, and I talked with Rachel Bruch-Anderson and Marissa White to give me some sweet insight to GWac. 

These women are both in their junior year here at Gustavus and coincidently went to the same high school, Hastings. When asked if they ever sang together in high school, they giggled. They said it was 'an experience' and 'they have come far since then'.

The idea for a new group first came to Sami Ponder during her freshman year. Rachel remembers during choir sophomore year, Sami leaned over and asked her if she would be down to have a group on campus for women-only a capella and the idea blossomed.  

Photo by Nick Campbell

The group currently is made up 7 members and will expand in the fall. When they created the group, it was more of a small invite to those in the singing community to build a strong core group to get it started. So far, they have had open mics and plenty of offers to start singing at events, like Relay for Life. They will be getting an advisor and receive organization training to become an official Gustavus organization in the future and will hopefully expand to the rest of campus.

I asked a few simple questions to each of these girls to hear how they began singing, what a capella means to them, and good stories among the group.

Rachel began her singing career when she was 6 years old. Her parents bought her a karaoke machine for a Christmas gift and it was used every day until it broke. As she was growing up, she and her brother created a band called The Heartlanders. They have an amazing relationship and music makes the bond stronger. For her, the difference between a capella and singing with instruments or music in the background is that a capella requires well-conditioned singers because of the absence of music. The music is there to keep you in pitch, so when it is not present, you need to be responsible for your part and work with the group. The benefit of a capella is that there is a lot more room for creative expression and experimenting.  

Marissa began singing whenever she was in the car. Long or short rides, she sang along to all of the music. She picked up choir in middle school and then was inspired to sing for fun. She hoped this would boost her career and help her to become a Disney princess. She enjoys a capella because it allows the singers to create true bonds and the music is more personal, especially for this group. They focus on women singers who are strong role models for others and love bringing about that strength through music. 

Photo by Nick Campbell

They are currently working with the song “Scars to Your Beautiful”, which tells women to be strong in your own skin and be who you are. “With the current political climate, this all female group is important to us and all over campus”, Rachel says.

As far as the group name's pronunciation, Rachel gave me the scoop. 'GWac' sounds like guac, because who doesn’t love guac. At first, it was G-Wack, and they decided to change it to something more awesome. It was embarrassing at first, but slowly it grew on them, except for Marissa. She loves the name, but hates avocados. As for Rachel, she says that, “all avocadoes are our mascot”.  

We all hope to see these women strive as a group on campus! From all of us at Her Campus Gustavus, good luck girls!