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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Potential for new ‘vitality’ in female a capella group

    Vocal Ease members psychology senior Aubrey Arrington, front, and Julia Higgins, a UA alumna, work on their harmony at practice on Tuesday night. The a cappella group will be holding auditions for new members this month.
    Vocal Ease members psychology senior Aubrey Arrington, front, and Julia Higgins, a UA alumna, work on their harmony at practice on Tuesday night. The a cappella group will be holding auditions for new members this month.

    Award-winning all female a capella group Vocal Ease will be holding auditions next week for three open spots for the upcoming semester.

    The group said it is jump-starting auditions this year because there are openings for almost half of their seven-member ensemble.

    Vocal Ease recently participated in the Harmony Sweepstakes A Capella Festival in Los Angeles April 1, winning second place overall and best arrangement for “”I Believe in a Thing Called Love,”” by The Darkness.

    Ali Davis, a music education sophomore and Vocal Ease member who performed and wrote the original arrangement for “”I Believe in a Thing Called Love,”” said it was relieving to win the award.

    “”I feel like it’s been a lot of work and arranging it is a really fun thing to do,”” she said. “”It’s nice to see that people appreciate my arrangements on a professional level more than ever before.””

    Julia Higgins, a departing member of Vocal Ease and UA alumna, said Vocal Ease also does a lot of its own song arrangements, which many groups have done for them.

    Vocal Ease was the only collegiate group at the festival and one of the only performing groups who incorporated choreography into their set, members said.

    The win is a sigh of relief for the women, who competed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella in March only to find out after their set that their microphones were malfunctioning, said Aubrey Arrington, a member of Vocal Ease and a psychology senior.

    The group was surprised to win at the festival, which is comprised mostly of professional a capella barbershop and vocal jazz acts, Arrington said.

    “”We were astounded to win just because we were so different from everyone else,”” Arrington said.

    Elizabeth Schauer, associate director of choral activities for the School of Music and adviser for Vocal Ease, said the Harmony Sweepstakes competition win was not unforeseen. “”I’m not surprised because they have great attention to detail and work extremely hard in their preparation,”” she said.

    Schauer acknowledged the innovativeness of the group.

    “”They were unique in the competition and they are unique on campus,”” Schauer said.

    Arrington said it was intimidating competing with professional groups.

    “”It was kind of daunting, but at the same time everyone is very selfless in the a capella community, so everyone had a lot of advice to offer,”” Arrington said, mentioning one competitor’s idea to incorporate popular songwriter Prince into their set.

    Davis said she will be sad to see the three members of the group go but is excited to see what new members can bring to the ensemble.

    “”The group is obviously going to change dramatically, but at the same time all of us cannot expect it to be the same because it will have a new vitality,”” she said.

    The festival was the last competition for the group for the school year, but Vocal Ease still has two remaining concerts. One concert is for a Relay for Life on the evening of April 28, and the other is with the School of Music on Friday May 5 at the First United Methodist Church.

    For more information on auditions and performances for the ensemble, visit www.vocalease.net. Auditions are tentatively scheduled on Thursday and April 23 and will include a variety of vocal exercises.

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