Acapella group replaces last year’s show choir

Cady Meece | Staff Writer

Singing complex songs without the help of a director or instruments is a new pop-jazz acapella group called Note-orious that has recently emerged at Mason High School.
Sophomore Ben Tilley said that an acapella group is a choir that performs without any instruments, and using only voices.

“Note-orious is an after school pop-jazz acapella group, which is a group that is comprised of only voices,” Tilley said. “No instruments are used at all. Even when extras are needed aside from voices, we make them ourselves, like beat-boxing.”

According to Tilley, Mason Middle School choir teacher Bridgett Spore pitched the idea to find a new direction to take instead of show choir.

“[Note-orious] was started by Bridgett Spore, an MMS choir instructor, because the MHS show choir from last year was eliminated,” Tilley said. “The choir department wanted to try a different approach to show choir, so she presented it to the choir classes.”

Junior Morgan Schneider said that Spore’s participation in another acapella group in Cincinnati, Bella-capella, inspired her to bring the idea to Mason after student interest in show choir decreased.

Senior Lizy Volk, a member of Note-orious who was involved in last year’s show choir said her transition to Note-orious was a huge contrast to her experiences in show choir.

“Show choir was more choreographed and was more Broadway-like productions,” Volk said. “Note-orious consists of popular songs and you can relax and move the way you want to [during performances] rather than being stuck to a uniformed dance.”

Although having been an active group for only a year, Note-orious has competed in one choir competition called “Spread the Glee,” hosted by local TV station Fox 19.

“Note-orious was chosen as one of the top six groups that auditioned, and we got to record a song at the Fox 19 studios that was aired on Christmas Morning,” Tilley said. “It was really exciting to be able to see ourselves on TV doing what we love.”

According to Schneider, it is more difficult for Note-orious to find competitions in which to participate than conventional choirs, due to the rarity of competing high school acapella groups.

“We haven’t competed in many competitions because [Note-orious] is not a conventional choir,” Schneider said. “It is hard to find local competitions that we are qualified for, because not many competitions are geared for our style of singing.”

As if finding competitions wasn’t hard enough, Tilley said actually being in an acapella group is hard work, because, without the use of instruments, each member has to make sure they can effectively blend their voices to create a single sound. This makes preparations for any competition or concert a challenge.

“The hardest part about being in the group is blending your voice,” Tilley said. “You have to create one sound with many voices, and it’s a difficult task. We have to work extra hard to get ready for concerts and perfect the sound.”

According to Schneider, being an acapella group makes the responsibilities while on stage much harder than those for a conventional choir.

“The hardest part of performing is by far the acapella factor,” Schneider said. “While we are performing, our instructor is not on stage with us. It’s our responsibility to stay together while staying in rhythm and keeping your tone in check and blended.”

While hard work is expected, Schneider said that the members of Note-orious enjoy their time together and the type of songs they sing.

“My favorite thing we have sung so far was the Michael Jackson medley,” Schneider said. “It was the first song we learned, and it helped us get to know each other better and see how we would do as a group.”

Having the opportunity to sing popular songs is an extra reward in having to transition from show choir to an acapella group, according to Volk.

“I really like singing popular songs,” Volk said. “It’s a lot of fun to look at them in a different way and to watch the crowd dance and sing along to the songs they know already.”

According to Tilley, Note-orious is an enjoyable experience in which all singers should take part.

“Note-orious requires a lot of focus and hard work,” Tilley said. “But, it’s a once in a lifetime chance that I’m glad I didn’t pass up.”

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