In 2012, collegiate a cappella groups went from small clubs to culturally iconic with the release of Pitch Perfect.
When a cappella group Pentatonix hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with their Christmas album, That’s Christmas To Me in 2014, a cappella groups once again took center stage.
Here at New Paltz, three a cappella groups, the Sexy Pitches, Male Call and Absolut A Cappella, are continuing the a cappella tradition every semester.
“I knew coming in as a freshman two years ago I wanted to join a cappella because the movie Pitch Perfect made it look like so much fun,” said third-year music therapy major Dia Delgado, president of the Sexy Pitches.
The Sexy Pitches is an all-girl a cappella group that performs a wide variety of songs, ranging from Destiny’s Child to Billy Joel. Each semester, the group hosts two dorm performances, as well as an invitational in the spring.
“Each a cappella group has a theme at each performance. We just had one at Scudder, where our theme was Disney and we all dressed up as our favorite Disney character,” Delgado said.
In preparation for the performances, the Sexy Pitches meet twice a week to discuss and rehearse. The songs for each performance are chosen from the groups repertoire, which includes songs that have been arranged in the past, as well as new ones.
“Every performance is different. We rehearse new songs throughout the semester so that the new members can learn their parts,” said fourth-year graphic design major Olivia Passanante.
Besides being a team, a cappella has also brought the members of the Sexy Pitches together as friends.
“I love collaborating with the other members on songs and ideas of how we can improve and just spending time together,” said third-year English major Inijah Germain.
Collaboration is a big part of a cappella, according to Delgado.
“Making music with only your voice is truly amazing to me. In order to accomplish this, you must be connected with one another within the group,” Delgado said.
Another group on campus, Male Call, is an all-male group consisting of 15 members. The group performs a wide range of genres, from pop, to rap to indie.
“I joined [Male Call] because singing is one of my favorite things and I wanted to get over my stage fright,” said fourth-year creative writing major Max Geiger, vice-president of Male Call.
At the beginning of each semester, Male Call holds open auditions. There, potential members are asked to sing a verse and chorus of a song. They may be asked to callbacks, where they repeat the process, and additionally sing a song with the group.
Practice is a big deal for members of Male Call, and key to successful performances.
“We practice about six hours a week consisting of upcoming engagement logistical talk, rehearsing and teaching songs for upcoming sets and performances, as well as casual conversation about how life is going,” said Mark Williams, music director of Male Call.
Like the Sexy Pitches, members of Male Call have grown close through their performances.
“My favorite part about being in the group is the exposure to music,” said second-year physics and astronomy major Cole Sporcic, president of Male Call. “I’m not the most musically talented person, so I love being around all of the talented people in each of the group.”
The third and final group on campus is Absolut A Cappella, the only mixed-gender group.
“We feel that our benefit is that we can have a wide variety of people in our group,” said third-year pre-music therapy major Stephanie Page, president of Absolut A Cappella. “We can have members all with varying gender identities that all have incredible musical talents to share with us, regardless of their gender.”
Absolut A Cappella’s presence on campus dates back 15 years. The group performs at multiple on-campus events, including accepted student’s day, convocation and graduation.
“We love to get the experience to share our love for music and our club with other people who have the same passions as us,” Page said.
To learn more about the groups, as well as their upcoming performances, follow their Instagrams: @thesexypitches, @malecall_np and @absolutacappella.
Male Call’s invitational ‘Fall Call,’ will feature all three groups, as well as visitors, and will be held on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in Studley Theater.