Photo courtesy of: Tempo Tantrums
Heart of Worship a.k.a. H.O.W.
Photo courtesy of: H.O.W.
Mar 30, 2011
By Emily Maddern
The tradition of a cappella singing has found a niche at Ohio University.
A cappella groups have been present on the Athens campus since 1991 when student Raymond Feener founded Section 8, an all-male a cappella ensemble comprised of members of the Singing Men of Ohio.
Since the creation of Section 8, five other University-recognized groups have formed on campus. They are: Title IX, the Leading Tones, the Tempo Tantrums, Heart of Worship and New Chords on the Block. This growing presence on campus indicates the rising interest students have for participating in and playing audience to a cappella groups.
Aaron Comstock, a graduate student studying music education, attributes the increasing popularity of a cappella groups to the music style's flexibility and contemporary influences.
"(A cappella) opens up a whole new territory of singing. The arrangements are cool – you can do mash-ups, you can do beat boxing, there are so many options," Comstock said. "Choral music gets boring. At some point, you do the same sort of songs all the time. (A cappella) is taking the choral tradition, where it was stagnant for so many years, and taking it into a new direction."
These are the profiles of six student-based a cappella groups at Ohio University:
Section 8 is an all-male a cappella ensemble comprised of members of the Singing Men of Ohio. The group is currently working to produce a new CD, according to member Kyle Raffel. The recording process is scheduled to span over the next three years to form a
compilation of three generations of Section 8 members.
Title IX is an all-female group made up of members of Ohio University's Women's Chorale. It was the first female a cappella group formed on the Athens campus. The group recently performed at the Choral Union and Women's Chorale Winter Concert where they debuted their arrangement of "Mama' Who Bore Me," from the musical, "Spring Awakening."
The Leading Tones is a men's a cappella group created in 2005 by members of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity. Their membership has since expanded to include students not associated with the fraternity. One of their upcoming performances will be as the opening act for Rockapella, an a cappella group of international fame. The performance is April 14, at Alexander High School.
The Tempo Tantrums began in 2008 as an extracurricular a cappella group for female students. According to their website, the group brings together diverse and talented women in a fun and cohesive rehearsal environment. It stresses democratic-style collaborations in order to prepare and share original a cappella arrangements of pop culture music.
Heart of Worship
Heart of Worship was started by Comstock in fall 2009. It is the first and only Christian a cappella group on the Athens campus and was the first coed group on campus. The group identifies with the opening passage of Psalm: 147 which states, "Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!" Members of Heart of Worship were inspired by this verse for its use of the word "how," the acronym formed by the group's name.
New Chords on the Block
New Chords on the Block was founded by Sarah Mason, a sophomore studying music education. It is the second group to offer coed membership and is comprised of eight male and eight female students. One of its recent performances was for the Ohio University Tap Cats Showcase on March 5. Mason said the group is working on new music and is looking forward to stepping out on stage as the University's newest a cappella group.
Tyler Charles, public relations manager and member of the Leading Tones, said he sees television shows like the "Sing-Off" and "Glee" exposing a cappella music to a wider audience and creating interest among students.
"It's kind of in a transition from an underground fad to legitimate popularity on campus," Charles said.