Article by Paige Bilsbury
The a cappella groups at the University of Maryland held auditions on Mon. Sept. 12 and Wed. Sept. 14 following brief performances to open the door to students interested in joining the musical scene.
10 groups showcased their enthusiasm to auditionees through short performances and introductions that displayed their personalities. Ethnobeat member and senior mechanical engineering major, Andrés del Campo, presented each group while members watched and cheered from the hallway outside.
Sonia Tavik, a senior public health science major, joined the Treblemakers when she started at UMD four years ago. She participated in an all female group in high school and wanted to continue in college. “I think it just gives people an outlet to hang out with people they really love and also sing…It’s a nice little oasis,” Tavik said.
Hybrid auditions – which gave students the opportunity to submit a video online or go in person to audition – were offered to students this semester. Current members demonstrated their passion for a cappella through their comradery with fellow members in the performances and excitement to welcome new students afterward.
Students were encouraged to audition for as many groups as they’d like, del Campo told auditionees during the introductions. Tavik said that she was pleased with the audition turnout, especially from incoming freshmen, possibly due to looser COVID-19 restrictions.
Kalpana Iyer, a freshman psychology major, attended the auditions on Monday to pursue her love for music and interest in getting involved at school. She auditioned for groups that resonated with her: Dacadence, Faux Pas and Pandemonium.
“It will give me something to be a part of, which is nice. I love singing and it’s a way for me to express myself…this is a good outlet for me,” Iyer said.
The a cappella community promoted inclusivity to students at the auditions. Some groups honor historic similarities, such as Jewish group Rak Shalom, and all female group the Treblemakers, but they are not advertised as exclusive.
“I love music and I feel like throughout my years at UMD, Ethnobeat has really been foundational…you just really just share this love and passion for music,” Lauren Eng, senior information science major and member of Ethnobeat, said.
The First Look Fair on Sept. 8 hosted many of the a cappella groups’ stands. The fair had introduced many of the current members to a cappella in previous years.
A cappella at the University of Maryland dates back to 1989. The Treblemakers formed adjacent to their brother group, The Generics, according to their website. Tavik compared the a cappella scene to Greek life because of the comparable social benefits.
“Jokingly, I’d probably say it’s just like Pitch Perfect,” Nicholas Orellana, senior digital media communications major and member of the group Dacadence, said.