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Acapella groups

MomCaresMomCares 3058 replies90 threads Senior Member
edited January 2011 in Northwestern University
Does anyone know when/how incoming students can audition for NU a cappella groups? Is there some sort of unified audition for multiple groups, or do you need to schedule seperate auditions for each one? Is there a way to learn about the various groups? I've seen YouTube videos of Purple Haze, but does anyone have opinions about which groups are the strongest?

Also, can theatre majors participate in a cappella groups, or are there too many schedule conflicts with various rehearsals and performances?

As you can tell, what I don't know about NU a cappella is a lot -- so any information will be much apreciated!

Thanks in advance for any opinions or guidance!
edited January 2011
10 replies
Post edited by MomCares on
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Replies to: Acapella groups

  • MomCaresMomCares 3058 replies90 threads Senior Member
    Also - I'm particularly interested in groups including females. These are the groups I've found online, but I think there are others...

    Aural Fixation
    Extreme Measures
    Purple Haze
    Significant Others
    The Undertones

    Others? Thoughts about any of the above?
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  • momof3sonsmomof3sons 4968 replies148 threads Senior Member
    MomCares-the freshmen audition for the a cappella groups during the first week of orientation. The groups have their auditions at different times, but it is possible to make all the auditions. There are callbacks following the first round of auditions.

    The theatre department is well-represented in the a cappella groups on campus. Most of the groups are very strong and it is very competitive to be accepted. There are voice majors from the Bienen school who also are well-represented in the a cappella groups.
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  • MomCaresMomCares 3058 replies90 threads Senior Member
    Thanks so much for the information! Are details provided in advance about what to prepair for auditions? Do people use the same material for every audition or will each group want something unique? Do they look at performance resumes? Any idea about the typical format for auditions? D has a lot of musical experience and training, but hasn't worked with an a cappellla group so it would be great to have an idea what to expect in an auditioin.
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  • momof3sonsmomof3sons 4968 replies148 threads Senior Member
    I believe they usually ask for 16 bars (30 seconds?) of a song-your choice. I think you can use the same song for all your auditions. They are looking to see how you will "blend" with the group. They will test your range and the groups will interview you. Some of them ask really wacky questions to see your response. These are social groups, too, ;) so I suppose they're trying to get a handle on how well you'd fit in. I don't think that performance resumes are used.

    I can ask someone I know ;) to confirm that I'm giving you totally correct info. (I think I am.) I'll get back to you within a couple of days on that.
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  • MomCaresMomCares 3058 replies90 threads Senior Member
    @momof3sons THANK YOU so much for the information! D has spent all but the first few years of her life making and performing music, so she is really eager to find people to sing with at NU!

    Are the a cappella groups completely student run, or are there faculty advisors and/or directors for some groups?
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  • momof3sonsmomof3sons 4968 replies148 threads Senior Member
    Completely student run and the musical directors for each group are students. I have sent a list of questions to "someone really in-the-know" and will let you know when I get a response.
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  • momof3sonsmomof3sons 4968 replies148 threads Senior Member
    MomCares-here are your answers straight from a horse's mouth. (All I can think is, "My, he's up early today.")

    1) The only all-women's group is Significant Others (known as Sig-O). The co-ed groups I can think of off the top of my head are Purple Haze, The Undertones, X-Factors, Extreme Measures, Thunk, The Treblemakers (Asian group), Brown Sugar (mostly Indian group), ShireiNU (Jewish), and Pulso (Spanish/Latino, which is just getting started this year
    2) Students find out about auditions by advertisements on the ground during welcome and through Facebook events.
    3) Auditions are indeed held towards the middle/end of the first week.
    4) You can use the same song for all auditions.
    5) 16 bars or 30 seconds is appropriate. They basically mean the same thing when a group is asking for it. Just present something that shows off your style and range,
    6) They will also include a range test. Have you going up and down scales, or something of the like.
    7) Some groups enjoy asking some really wacky questions. They just want to see a glimpse of your personality. But it's really no pressure with this. This doesn't really matter in the long run. What will matter is your singing. So you should just try and stay calm and relaxed and go with your instincts with the questions. It'll be fun....no worries. :)
    8) Each audition will be about 4-5 minutes. (you sing your song, they test range and tonal memory, they ask you some questions, if you can beatbox they'll want to hear that, etc,).
    9) No performance resume.
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  • MomCaresMomCares 3058 replies90 threads Senior Member
    Perfect -- THANKS!!

    i assume the Facebook events may be publicized on the NU Class of 2015 FB group when the time is right? (always with the questions, no?) D has done many auditions and has had great musical training, and even people other than her mom think she can Sing, so I'm guessing the auditions won't phase her. She's been in a selective Vocal Jazz ensemble for years, but I'm already excited for her to find an a cappella home at NU -- is that pathetic?

    Your S is up early to get some excercise, clean his living space, do laundry, study, eat a healthy breakfast, and call home to his beloved mommy, just like every weekend, no? ;-D
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  • momof3sonsmomof3sons 4968 replies148 threads Senior Member
    ^^^None of the above are correct, actually. :) He was involved in the production of Ragtime which had it's last performance last night. (Full house of 1,000!) He needed to be up early to help with the set strike.

    If I remember correctly, I think you are right that the auditions will be posted on the 2015 FB group. NU also has a tradition of posting flyers on the walkways, especially near the Student Union. Not to worry, your daughter will hear about the auditions from many different sources. She will also have a peer adviser (PA) who is an upperclass theater major who will hopefully remember to mention the auditions.
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  • MomCaresMomCares 3058 replies90 threads Senior Member
    Ah, Ragtime was the Dolphin show this year, right? Such lovely music - wish we could have seen NU's production! Was your son a performer? Did you get to see it?

    I'm sure you're right that D will hear about auditions. i know she met some NU theatre upperclassmen at YoungArts in Miami this year, so if nothing else she can ask them for a heads up if they hear anything.

    Thanks again!!

    I'd also love to hear if anyone has any insight into the personality of the different a cappella groups. Are some more musically focused, while others are more social? Do some have a reputation for hard partying (D is open minded but thinking that might not appeal to her)? Do some travel more than others? i assume none of the groups earn money, but do some/most cost money (for travel, music rights, costumes, whatever)?
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