Despite my enthusiastic participation in it, I will never hesitate to say that a cappella is probably the weirdest extracurricular I have done in my life, excluding my scarring musical theater days. The universal love of singing attracts unlikely groups of people, and although it’s not quite as dramatic as the movie “Pitch Perfect,” a cappella culture is fascinating. I got an in-depth look at this phenomenon during spring break when I visited Williams College and Brown University with my group, Vox Cameli, during our “Premiere Tour.” While we graced these campuses with our lovely voices, I realized my favorite part of a cappella occurs once the performances are over; a cappella after dark. I’ve found that the only thing that can be expected to occur after a performance is a sing-off, the result of two singing groups realizing they’re too awkward to socialize.
If you aren’t scared by the notion of a sing-off...you should be. There are two types: one, where people sing for fun and don’t care what they sound like, and another, where everyone judges each sound you make. While I love them both, the first one is undoubtedly my favorite. The first time students belted notes at me, just feeling the music they were making together, I knew I was witnessing a magical moment. Performing for audiences often makes groups stiff, but seeing people actually groove while singing and throwing in some riffs (because why not?) never fails to brighten my night. Also, a show dedicated to comedically analyzing the faces people make when singing should be made, and I’d love to provide pictures.
I think being a senior is a large part of my enthusiasm for these gatherings, knowing that feelings of nostalgia will kick in shortly after graduation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very ready to move on to a slightly more luxurious stage of my life, but I’ll miss being able to challenge someone to a solo sing-off, while lounging in a dingy basement. It will be even more difficult after graduation to find a group of people who will sing back instead of staring at me with raised eyebrows. Truthfully, I have no intention of stopping this behavior and I’m fully prepared to be judged hardcore as “the kid who couldn’t let it go.” Until the day society rejects me, I’ll enjoy my time in environments where I’m surrounded by people who feel similarly and who don’t back down from a vocal challenge.