You gotta love a cappella. I mean, it's hard not to. Between the catchy and complex arrangements, dynamic groups and breathtaking performances, a cappella has become even more prevalent on college campuses now than ever before. But let's say you're not a singer. You just want to listen to some amazing music made by passionate college students and you don't know where to start.
Well, my friend, you're in luck. Because with the help of this article, you will be well versed in current a cappella groups and will hopefully have a few new tracks on your playlist by the end of it.
1. The Acabelles
Hailing from the sunny state of Florida, the FSU Acabelles are a group made of ambition and girl power. Best described by member Alexis Restrepo, "Acabelles has been such a positive environment and, as an all female group, is a beautiful example of women looking after and empowering one another." The Acabelles currently perform around campus at various events and have three albums, but you may have recognized them from the cover video they did of Lorde's "Royals" back in 2013.
2. The Nor'Easters
As the oldest group on the campus of Northeastern University, the Nor’easters have surely been able to keep up their reputation. “In the past two years, I’ve professionally recorded, traveled, performed at renowned venues across the east coast and competed from groups from all around the globe,” says member Sophia Berg. The Nor’easters are famous in the a cappella world, having performed at the White House and having been featured on PopTV’s Sing It On, but perhaps what makes this group one of the best is the bond between the members. As president, Anthony Rodriguez says, “One of the best parts of the Nor'easters is that I gained a family. The members of this group care so much about our craft and each other ... Of course the many Blackman performances, professional recording sessions and collegiate competitions are fun, but having a family on campus is why I love this group most.”
3. The Muhlenberg Dynamics
The Muhlenberg Dynamics are not a group to underestimate. Hailing from Muhlenberg College, a school with under 3,000 students, this group has worked hard to establish itself in the past couple of years. The Dynamics are made up of 12 members who work together not only in music, but in life. As sophomore Sean Kenny says, “Being in this group helped me immensely with making friends, especially as a freshman, and trying to figure out college life. Little things like grabbing a meal, studying together or just hanging out on a Friday night mean so much to a nervous freshman.” The Dynamics currently perform all around campus, and you can check out their music on iTunes.
4. The Ohio State of Mind
As the 2017 ICCA Midwest Champions, the Ohio State of Mind may seem like a group you don't want to mess with, but the truth is, they're college students, just like us. "We have some crazy competitive board game nights and argue just like siblings, but at the end of the day we are best friends," says member, Matt Patti. All of those bonding moments lead to not just a tight-knit group, but an efficient one. "Something we consider to be special about our group is that it is entirely student run," says Patti. "All of our music and choreography is arranged by students and this creates a kind of pride and connection to our performances that is hard to describe." The Ohio State of Mind is making a name for itself in the a cappella world and is a group to look out for in coming seasons.
5. Amazin' Blue
If you're looking for innovation in a cappella, the University of Michigan's Amazin' Blue is as close as you'll get. As an extremely decorated group, Amazin' Blue never fails to bring out something new with each performance. As president Mark Boynton says, "We are extremely passionate about collaboration and personal expression in our group; this past year, we arranged a set of songs that was chosen, arranged and choreographed in an entirely collaborative setting. We all believe that music is a platform to express messages and stories that cannot be expressed in any other way as effectively." In this past year, the group has released its 15th studio album and has won fourth place with its set at the ICCA Finals. This group sure does achieve its goal of "pushing a cappella to the limits."
6. SoCal Vocals
Holding the record for the most won ICCA championship (four years), the SoCal Vocals have become a powerhouse group in the world of a cappella. However, alumni Jonathan Von Mering sees it a little differently. "There's nothing inherently unique about the SoCal VoCals. The group is where it is today because at some point, people decided to start taking it way too seriously — and that tradition continues to this day." And perhaps he's right. Perhaps the albums and awards and videos aren't the reason that this group has gotten to where it is today. Perhaps it's the support system from within the group that leads them to their success.
So, a cappella. It isn't all glitz and fame all the time. In fact, what really does make it special is the shared love of music, and how that brings people together to create something truly unique.
Lead Image Credit: Universal Pictures