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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Vocal Ease: Something to sing about

    Members of Vocal Ease enjoy a rare moment of ease. The UAs award-winning, all-female a cappella group is usually busy rehearsing.
    Members of Vocal Ease enjoy a rare moment of ease. The UA’s award-winning, all-female a cappella group is usually busy rehearsing.

    It’s rare to find a college student who’s never felt the need to burst into song. Whether or not you’re a music major, it’s tough for anyone to contain the occasional urge to break into a few bars of, say, “”Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.””

    For Vocal Ease, UA’s very own all-female a cappella group, that need is easy enough to satisfy. The group is performing its last scheduled show of the year at Crowder Hall on Sunday.

    The set will include zippy arrangements of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “”The Zephyr Song,”” The Darkness’ “”I Believe in a Thing Called Love”” (which won arranger Alison Davis Best Arrangement at this year’s Harmony Sweepstakes Festival in L.A.) and “”Pure Imagination,”” Gene Wilder’s legendary showstopper from the original “”Willy Wonka.””

    “”We’ve done everything from hip-hop to R&B to rock,”” said Aubrey Arrington, a psychology and family studies junior who serves as the group’s bass and percussion voice.

    “”We’ve done some jazz standards. We’ve even done a few versions of the national anthem.””

    The group placed third at this year’s Western Divisionial International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella competition and second at Harmony Sweepstakes.

    The rest of the group consists of Jennifer Blodgett, Lauren Freed, Kristy Barrett, Genny Gaus and Michelle Sharpton. All are juniors except Gaus, who is a sophomore.

    The group divides up all the chores: Davis does the arrangements, Blodgett handles finances and the band’s Web site, Freed takes care of PR and travel, Barrett focuses on scheduling gigs, Gaus handles the wardrobe and Sharpton is in charge of recording and sales. They get together to rehearse twice a week.

    “”It’s a lot of fun,”” Arrington said.

    “”For all of us who aren’t music majors, it’s a good outlet. We’re still able to still be involved in creating music even though it’s not what we’re studying.””

    Even for experienced vocalists, a cappella presents some unique challenges, she said.

    “”There’s a lot of things in a cappela music that you don’t have to do in other types of music,”” added Arrington. “”You have to sing instrumental parts and vocal percussion, which is something most of us have never done before.””

    Vocal Ease performs at all UA jazz events. But they’re not snobs: they’ll play anywhere from Fourth Avenue pastry shops to office parties and churches.

    Members of the group already have two records behind them: a 2004 full-length album and a five-song EP from February, with covers ranging from the serious (U2’s “”With or Without You””) to the ridiculous (“”It’s Raining Men””) and the sublime (the Spice Girls’ “”Wannabe””). Future projects include a ’90s medley, complete with some Ace of Base.

    “”We’ve always wanted to do a Michael Jackson medley,”” Arrington said. “”But I don’t know if that’s in the works.””

    For more information on Vocal Ease, visit the group’s Web site at http://web.cfa.arizona.edu/vocalease/index.htm.

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