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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

A cappella invitational takes over Bluett Theatre

Christian Peeney ’22, music director of 54th and City, performs during his group’s performance of ‘Stacy’s Mom’ originally by Fountains of Wayne. PHOTOS: ZACH DOBINSON ’22/THE HAWK

St. Joes a cappella groups collaborate at fall concert

Harmonies and high notes poured out of Bluett Theatre as St. Joe’s a cappella groups hosted their annual fall invitational on Nov. 9. Nine groups from Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania performed two songs each at one of the biggest a cappella events of the semester, Hawks and Harmonies.

Emily Fordham ’21, president of Hawkappella, said one thing that made this invitational different than previous years was the fact that it was co-hosted by all three a cappella groups at St. Joe’s for the first time. These groups include Hawkappella, a co-ed group, the City Belles, an all-female group, and 54th and City, an all-male group.

“We are really pushing towards an ‘aca-unity’ type of thing where all of the groups can work together, collaborate and be more of a unified front versus there’s so much competition,” Fordham said.

Groups traveled from Drexel University, Loyola University Maryland, Stockton University and Villanova University to perform at the event as well.

While supporting one another in the a cappella community being able to support each other at the same event is something that previously hasn’t been able to happen. With some events usually asking only one of the three groups to perform, a cappella at St. Joe’s was missing a unified front.

Linsdey Richardson ’20, president of the City Belles, said this fragmentation of performances makes it hard to unite the a cappella groups at St. Joe’s because they’re all doing different things. Having an event that all three groups put together has alleviated some of this separation.

“We love to go out and support each other at those events, but having an event that allows us to bond with each other and unite the groups has been super great,” Richardson said. “It’s been really fun collaborating for this event.”

Lindsey Richardson ’20, president of the City Belles, sings a solo.

Patrick McGavick ’20, president of 54th and City, said having Hawks and Harmonies being co-hosted by all three groups sends a message to the St. Joe’s community that says a cappella is more than just a pasttime.

“I really think this adds some legitimacy to what we do on campus and all the work we’ve put in over the past few years,” McGavick said. “It makes us look a lot more like a unified force rather than just some groups screwing around.”

In addition to the event being co-hosted for the first time, this year was also the first time the event was hosted in Bluett Theatre. Fordham believes all the groups coming together helped the university recognize how serious a cappella at St. Joe’s really is.

“In the past, we’ve not been allowed to perform in Bluett,” Fordham said. “They’ve never permitted it because they’re like, ‘You’re a student arts group and this theatre is only for official parts at St. Joe’s.’ This year us working together was helpful in allowing them to [let us use Bluett] because it showed that yes we are legit and yes we are respectable.”

Although the excitement for the event was prevalent throughout the night, some members couldn’t help but understand
that this invitational was the last one for the seniors in the groups. Richardson, who has been in the City Belles since her first year, reflected on her time with the group before soloing in their first song of the night “Cowboy Cassanova” by Carrie Underwood.

“I’m super thankful for City Belles,” Richardson said. “This opportunity has been super exciting and a great way to know more faces with a passion for music on campus.”

Nathan King ’20 has been in Hawkappella all four of his years at St. Joe’s. While he was excited to be performing with the other groups in a new space, the reality of his senior year has begun to set in.

“It’s sort of a bittersweet thing just like a lot of the Hawkappella things happening for a senior,” King said. “It’s definitely sad, but there’s also a celebratory aspect to it because having been in the group for four years I have noticed the progress that we’ve made.”

The progress King talks about also includes bringing new members into the group. This year Hawkappella added three
new members, two first-year students and one senior. The new additions made King feel better knowing that he will have to leave the group come graduation.

“It’s really been a joy to see them come in and match the energy of everyone else in the group right off the bat,” King said. “They’re all very talented, hard working and dedicated to the group.”

Having strong new members and a strong group overall makes Fordham also feel confident about the future of the group.

“The group is so motivated and they come to practice and they want to learn and do stuff,” Fordham said. “They all have such a high standard for themselves and what they want the group to be that it’s not easy, but easy to lead them.”

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