I played violin for about five years before learning the piano (which I have been doing for a total of eight years now). I was in choir all four years of high school, participated in the school musical, and was in charge of an a cappella group in high school. So to say I was always a music kid would be an understatement.
As I headed off to college, I wanted to incorporate my love for music when I came to Fordham University. I decided to audition for the Fordham Satin Dolls, our all female a cappella group on campus. I know what you’re thinking: this girl is totally experiencing “Pitch Perfect” IRL, right? Well yes and no (well, mostly no). “Pitch Perfect” isn’t the best representation of true a cappella. It’s even better and more difficult than all the easily compiled mash-ups and late night riff-offs on the screen lead you to believe.
Here’s the I am going to give you to pitch slap you with what it’s really like to be a member of an a cappella group!
Musical arrangements are not easy to make.
You know that scene in “Pitch Perfect” where they just make up a mash-up of a song on the spot in one go? It is not like that in real life. We have a music director and an assistant music director who work really hard on their own time to make our songs as great as they are. We appreciate them a lot for what they do. They are amazing!
A Capella is a quite the time commitment.
We practice three times a week for two hours at a time, and make up for extra time when needed. We also have performances on campus all the time. We perform at other club’s events, such as Fordham Dance Marathon, Family Weekend, Taste the World, as well as sing the national anthem at sports games. We also got to sing Christmas carols at the New York Botanical Gardens for their annual Holiday Train Show, and even got to sing the national anthem for ABC’s Digital Live Stream in Times Square for this year’s presidential election!
Performing a song well is one of the best feelings in the world.
There is really nothing better than learning a song and making it sound great. We get so amped up every time we complete a song and make it sound amazing because the more we get into it, the more the audience will love it. Who doesn’t love being good at their passion and sharing that passion with a group of insanely talented people?
We love to harmonize.
You can literally catch us harmonizing anywhere, anytime. Walking out of practice, walking to practice, going to the gym, listening to music on our own time, in the middle of a party, and pretty much at all times of the day we harmonize. We can’t resist it and fight the urge! We are suckers for a good harmony.
When we hear a song we have done, all we can do is sing the arrangement.
For my group personally, when we hear a song like “American Boy” come on, there is no way we cannot burst out into song. We basically blow up the song with our doom’s, da’s, bow’s, la’s, and any other possible syllable we can make. Just recently we were performing at a Fordham event and “679” by Fetty Wap came on, and all we did was sing it the only way we know how: a cappella style.
We really are a family.
I am so blessed to be part of a group of girls that truly inspire me everyday. My favorite moments with my group is always backstage before our final concert every semester. You see everyone get together and we all bond as a collective group. You see the support, the apprehension, and most importantly the excitement as you can’t wait to show everyone what you have been working on all semester. You see us become a family and it is one of the best feelings in the world.
(all photos via @holla4sahana)
A cappella has truly shaped my college experience, and I don’t know what I would do without my dolls!
How are you involved on your campus? Let us know in the comments below!