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Ithacapella: Sounds Good to Me!

Angelic voices, haunting melodies and consistent swagger as they grace the stage of Emerson Suites, Ithacapella never fails to disappoint. A capella at Ithaca College is basically like a varsity sport. Students will wait in line for hours to watch a show, with girls drooling at every note and dance move during the performance. (Yes, I am one of those girls.) I had the chance to talk with Cody Ripa, President of Ithacapella, who is incredibly dedicated to this amazing a capella group. Be sure to check out their Block 4 concert on Saturday April,13 at 8pm in Emerson Suites!

https://www.facebook.com/events/519639864744536/ <–Here’s the event!


-When was Ithacapella formed and how many students are in the group now?

Ithacappella was founded in 1996 as the Ithaca College Men’s Chorus. Currently there are 16 active members in the group, but also, a large number of active alumni that come and support our concerts and endeavors.

-What is the most popular genre of music that the group likes to sing? Which musicians inspire your music?

It’s definitely hard to put a label on “what genre we gravitate to”, The goal is always to put on high-energy, high-emotion, high-excitement shows. We can find that sort of energy in any type of song or genre…the challenge is conveying all of that to the audience!

-Is the music arranged by members in the group?

The music is almost ALWAY arrange by guys in the group. Occasionally we will have alumni that contribute arrangements as well as close friends with the group. A big piece for us this year is called “My Way Home” a choral tune composed by a graduate conducting student Christopher Harris.

-What has been your favorite venue in Ithaca or on tour?

It may sound corny, but there is no place like Emerson Suites when it comes to home concerts. Since I’ve been in the group I’ve performed, in Block Concerts, in 3 very different spaces: Emerson Suites, the A&E center, and the State Theatre. They we all amazing opportunities, but Emerson Suites is our home. You can walk into the suites the day of the concert and just feel electricity in the air (corny again, but true).

-How do you guys feel about being one of the most recognizable groups on campus?

Honestly, we try not to think about that too much. We want to put on the best show we possibly can because our fans are so fantastic to us. Ithacappella isn’t a one-year thing, its a living, breathing entity that changes just as frequently as the seasons. It’s so comforting to know that our fans continue to come out to the concerts, continue to scream their heads off and continue to show us unconditional love.

-How do you deal with the fan girls? Do you guys like the attention? (I have to admit I am one of them.)

I think I’d be lying if I said we didn’t like the attention. It’s really quite funny now that I think back on my 3 years with the group. My first year I really let it all soak in. On tours I was the first one out there signing autographs and taking pictures. Its a fun lifestyle and it makes you feel important. As I got a little older, I stepped back and watched as the younger faces of the group stepped into that role. The seniors, especially my roommate and conductor of the group, Peter Blanford, really just propped ourselves against a wall and watched as the masses flocked to the Freshman crew. It was a proud-father type of moment which I honestly think back to more often than not, and just smile.

-What has been the groups most favorite/memorable moment when performing?

Anytime this group has “a moment,” its earth-shaking. Music has the power to move people in the most extraordinary ways. There was a moment just this week where we were singing my senior song, which is “Below My Feet” by Mumford and Sons, and by the end of it I looked over to see one of the guys just bawling his eyes out. It’s kind of an unspoken rule that when you cry within the group you just let it happen, you don’t try and cover it up, you don’t try and pretend it doesn’t happen, that’s the sort of connection we have with each other and with the music that we sing.

-I know you had the opportunity to collaborate with the Pentatonix last year. What was that experience like and did they give you any advice?

Well funny enough that first time with Pentatonix was a little disjunct. We actually recorded the track and let them fill in the blank spaces. BUT, this year when they came to the State Theatre we all had the opportunity to go out after the concert and hang out with them. It was an awesome experience just to listen to them talk about their approach to music and their passion for singing.

-What can we expect at the Block 4 Concert?

Honestly, I can’t put it into words, but this concert will be the haymaker that we’ve been waiting for. Every song is polished and ready to go, and I’ll tell you, it’s an amazing set. The conductors Peter Blanford and Ben Van De Water did a fantastic job putting this together musically. I’m so excited to have the whole team and the whole campus 110% behind us ready to end the year with a BANG!

Thanks again to Cody for participating in our Campus Celebrity of the week!


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