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Aug 22 2017
by Jamie Su

6 Stereotypes College A Capella Groups Are Tired of Hearing

By Jamie Su - Aug 22 2017
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A capella performances are no doubt one of the most captivating sights every person has to witness at least once in their lifetime. If you've never attended an event held by a capella groups on campus, you're missing out on something magical. It's amazing to see a group of people come together, sing without the use of any musical instruments and entertain a crowd with their notable arrangements. 

Personally, I had no prior knowledge about a capella before the movie Pitch Perfect came out, which I'm sure a few others can relate to as well. Because of this perception gained from the film, others, including myself, envisioned this dazzling a capella life and made presumptions that are both stereotypical and exasperating to actual a capella members. To dispel those assumptions, here are six stereotypes debunked by a capella members themselves that a capella groups are tired of hearing.

1. Their lives are like Pitch Perfect.

As mentioned, Pitch Perfect has undeniably given us inaccurate expectations of what college a capella is like. This is no glamorized life where a capella is the main priority in life. There are no riff-offs or a capella boys who will try to pursue you while claiming that the two of you will have a-ca-children. Frankly, it would be weird to even have singing battles on campus at night because other students would be there and annoyed by all the ruckus a capella members make when people are trying to study. 

2. All a capella members are arts students.

Since when were arts students the only ones who were musically gifted? Many arts students have interests that lie outside of creative arts, and the same can be said for STEM students who have hobbies that aren't always technical. In fact, creative pastimes like a capella can be taken up by anyone as a good de-stresser. I can reassure you that a capella members come from various departments. In fact, most of the people I know who've joined a capella are in engineering.

3. A capella groups are like cults.

A capella groups have a tight-knit community, but not in some sort of singing-obsessed, clique way, swearing to eternal brotherhood or sisterhood. They just like to initiate members by drinking Celine Dion's blood. That's all.

4. A capella is only meant for women and gay guys.

It's 2017. Don't let this stereotype deter you from the art of a capella. Just because a capella involves dancing and singing, doesn't mean it's a "feminine" hobby. Performing is a way of expressing yourself and your emotions, regardless of what gender or sexual orientation you identify as. There is NO shame in doing something that you love and are a-ca-amazing at.

5. They can perform with no required effort.

A performance to you may seem like it's easy to and that anyone can do that, but that's wrong. Think of how they have to arrange the song before rehearsing, choreograph a dance and put all of that together. It's tough and requires an immense amount of dedication and effort. Don't take for granted the many long hours a capella members put into preparing for a performance. Kudos to them for having the passion to put on a spectacular performance every single time!

6. The soloist has the most important role.

Yes, we all know the lead singer has the voice of an angel that melts our hearts, but they aren't the only one who should be given the credit. The soloist is accompanied by mellifluous harmonies to give the song the stunning effect it deserves, which means every member is vital in creating a masterpiece, such as this one over here. I know people tend to focus on the lead's vocals, but pay attention to the background singing and take the time to appreciate the beauty of harmonists, tenors, bass, vocal percussionists and baritonists too.

I hope this has dispelled some of the stereotypes you may have believed about college a capella before, especially with films such as Pitch Perfect being a major influence on people's view on the modern world of a capella. Oh, and to all you a capella members, keep on rocking. Bless your musically gifted soul and voice that I wish I had.

Lead Image Credit: Gold Circle Films

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Jamie Su - University of Waterloo

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