Maryann Dudley, Dallin Bohn and Mitch Anderson are all members of the BYU a cappella group Dynamite, and according to them, the group has helped them find friends, express themselves and take a break from school.
Maryann Dudley, a Junior planning to apply to the business school said she struggled to make friends when she first came to BYU.
“I started school in the Fall of 2020, so right during COVID,” Dudley said. “My ward wasn’t socializing that much or doing any activities.”
Dudley said she only met her roommates and the people they brought over, and then the COVID-19 restrictions got even more tight. She said it was very difficult, and she was struggling a lot.
Dudley said her older sister did an a cappella group while at college, and she invited her to look into it.
“I went over to her place and filmed several times trying to get an audition video because they were online,” Dudley said. “I heard back from a couple of groups.” She made it into BYU Dynamite a cappella group, and was thrilled to join.
BYU sophomore Dallin Bohn said the founders of the group reached out to him on Instagram to join the group. “They reached out to me and said they loved the beatboxing I was doing,” Bohn said. “I sent a video with me beatboxing, and the group wanted me.”
For Bohn, the invitation to join came at an important time in his life.
“I was actually serving the rest of my mission as a service missionary in California, but I was still fully involved with the group,” Bohn said. “I would mute myself on the phone to practice with the group.”
Bohn said he practiced twice a week with the group while serving, and then continued on after his mission to keep him busy. “You go from a hectic schedule doing everything, and you have this giant purpose in life,” Bohn said. “I came home from my mission to just work, but it was nice to have something to look forward to at BYU.”
BYU junior Mitch Anderson said he really missed singing when an opportunity to join the group came.
“I knew Maryann because we had done a BYU Vocal Point summer camp,” Anderson said. “There was a guy in Dynamite who had dropped out of the group just a few weeks into the semester, and she reached out to me to see if I wanted to be in this a cappella group.”
Anderson said he decided to join, and he has had a blast ever since. He said everyone is so talented, and it feels like he is a part of a family.
Dudley said it has also helped her learn how to build positive relationships with people while here at school.
“For me, getting to be around people like me, getting to learn how to interact and bond with different people has been a blessing,” Dudley said. “I got to have social interactions twice a week during COVID, which was wonderful.”
Dudley said as the president of the club, she has learned how to work effectively with the other team members.
“These people are all so talented,” Dudley said. “Learning how to try to direct people has been good for me.”
Bohn said he is grateful for this opportunity because it gives him a chance to express himself through music.
“I love the creative part about it,” Bohn said. “I needed something that was full of creativity where I could feel like I was more free musically.”
Anderson said being a part of Dynamite has helped him overcome imposter syndrome in his major, especially when applying for jobs.
“Honestly, it’s the one thing that I do outside of school that’s for me,” Anderson said. “This is the one thing that I do because I love to do it.”
Dudley said her goal for the group, in addition to providing a fun outlet from school, is to have everyone in the group learn how to arrange music.
“Everyone’s probably going to be doing music for the rest of their lives whether it’s for their ward, or maybe a profession,” Dudley said. “The goal is for everyone to grow in their musical ability, even if they don’t go on to become professional a cappella singers.”
Bohn said he has taken advantage of this opportunity to get experience with arranging music.
“This has helped me to have another avenue in music that I can explore,” Bohn said. “It’s cool to see my own collection of notes on a computer screen suddenly come to life.”
Anderson said getting involved in these kinds of extracurricular activities is simple, but very worthwhile.
“BYU is a place with a lot of really talented people, and so you might not get into the program or the acapella group you want to be in,” Anderson said. “Just keep pursuing what you like to do, and eventually you’ll find people that want to do it with you.”
Dallin Bohn said having outlets while here at BYU can help students find an identity.
“It’s nice, especially in your early young adult years, to feel like you’re an individual and that you’re expressing the core parts of yourself,” Bohn said. “There are so many opportunities to do that.”
He said actually taking a break can also help you to focus better on your studies.
“That’s what you’re paying for in college–you’re paying for the experience,” Bohn said.