BYU A Cappella club holds open group auditions for the first time

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BYU A Cappella Club, a club for a cappella groups on campus, is holding one audition for all the singing groups Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. in the Wilkinson Student Center Varsity Theater.

David Morris, A Cappella Club member and director of the a cappella group “Morris Code,” said the club is a great place for people who love to sing and want an opportunity to get involved in a group. 

A cappella group “The Advocates” performing at the A Cappella Jam. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Nelson)

“It’s a home for people to come to enjoy singing and be around like-minded people,” Morris said. “(It’s) a home for people to come and express themselves.”

Kyle Nelson, president of the A Cappella Club, said the club also has a non-audition choir that anyone is free to join. Many members of the club choir break off and form their own smaller groups.

“Most people who go into that group form their own by the end of the semester,” Nelson said.

Matthew Hemby, a senior member of the a cappella group “Familiar Ring,” said the club choir offers opportunities for people to sing a cappella without needing to audition into a group.

“We have an a cappella choir for those not in a specific group to have a chance to perform or create their own group,” Hemby said.

Tuesday’s auditions are a great opportunity for people wanting to join an established a cappella group. Auditioners should come prepared with a song to show off their best vocal ability.

“They should have eight to 15 bars that show off their voice … so we can hear that full vocal range,” Hemby said.

All groups auditioning for new members will be present for each audition. However, prior to the audition each group will perform a sample of their songs and style so that auditioners can determine what group interests them most.

“They’ll hear one quick song from each group to get an idea of what the group is all about and what they like to sing,” Nelson said.

With the growing popularity of a cappella group “Vocal Point,” the A Cappella Club has been attracting new members wanting an outlet for their singing passion. Since many a cappella groups are formed each year, there are often openings for new members.

“(The) last few years it’s been taking off, now group turnover is a lot higher,” Morris said. “It’s a lot of fun to see new people get involved.”

Members from each a capella group will be there to watch the auditions to find new members. This type of open audition for all the club affiliated groups has never been done before. Club members hope it will be a great opportunity to form more unity between a cappella groups in the club.

“All (representatives) come from groups to scout for new talent,” Hemby said. “We want to get more involvement with groups together … (this) big event is where we can make an effort together to find talent.”

Experience level varies within the club. Some come to auditions straight from BYU choirs like Men’s Chorus, and others have no formal singing experience, but the club offers a place for everyone who wants to sing.

“We have all ranges of experience from singers in our groups,” Nelson said. “We want to help everyone get better.”

A cappella group rehearsal. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Nelson)

A cappella groups are also interested in discovering people with unique talents like choreography skills. Nelson’s group recently added a member because of his ability to arrange music.

“The man had a special talent that we didn’t have,” Nelson said.

Every semester the club hosts an A Cappella Jam highlighting groups associated with the A Cappella Club. This semester’s performance will be in April.  

“(The) Jam is a place where groups can come share the new music they have been working on and … bring some entertainment,” Hemby said.

Morris started singing in a cappella groups after coming to an A Cappella Jam about 1 1/2 years ago. He sang in high school and before his mission but had forgotten how much he loved singing.

“That’s what got me back into it; (the Jam) ignited those memories,” Morris said.

The A Cappella Club helped Morris remember his love for singing and get involved in it again.

“We often don’t make enough time for things we care about, and it’s good to have that reminder,” Morris said. 

To learn more about BYU A Cappella and meet other music fans, check out their facebook group and follow them on twitter @byuacapella

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