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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 groups host invitational

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Olivia Tilton ’22 leads St. Joe’s Hawkappella in the song “Ain’t it Fun” by Paramore. PHOTOS: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

St. Joe’s three a cappella groups, Hawkappella, City Belles and 54th and City, hosted an a cappella invitational April 8 in the Cardinal Foley Campus Center.

Four a cappella groups from area universities performed at the invitational. Drexel University had two groups, 8 to the Bar, an all-male presenting group and the Treblemakers, an all female-presenting group. i-Tunes (short for International Tunes), a group that features songs from non-American artists, represented The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), and Stockapella, a competitive co-ed group, represented Stockton University. 

Ian Rowe-Nicholls ’24, president of Hawkappella, said this was their first major performance alongside outside groups since covid-19 regulations prevented live performances.

“It was really important to bring this community together again, and to see what other groups are out there,” Rowe-Nicholls said.

This was also the first invitational for Juliana Gonzalez, president of Stockapella at Stockton. 

“I’m super excited for that and to see a lot of the other groups perform because we’ve never met them,” Gonzalez said. “And, I like making friends in the a cappella community.” 

Alex Vargas, president of i-Tunes at TCNJ who traveled with her group from Ewing Township, New Jersey, said this was one of the few chances the group had to travel to a performance this year. 

“We only have performed off campus one other time this year,” Vargas said. “So these special opportunities are always fun for our group because we get to travel somewhere different.”

For Drexel’s 8 to the Bar, the ability to perform with other groups and create bonds was a big factor in attending the invitational, according to Nicolas Fallacaro, a member of the group. 

“We definitely want to try and start a bond, like getting St. Joe’s to come to Drexel,” Fallacaro said. “We love a cappella.” 

8 to the Bar is Drexel University’s all-male a cappella group.

The Treblemakers, also from Drexel, who had to switch music directors and deal with losing members, had also not performed outside their university for at least two years.

“This is a big opportunity for us and we’re just overall really excited to be here and see other groups from around the city,” said Jeleen Hutama, president of Treblemakers. 

Lydia Walker ’22 is a huge fan of a cappella and attended the invitational to show her support. 

“I thought it was just a perfect way to really embrace the talent on Hawk Hill and come out and support peers,” Walker said. 

St. Joe’s three a cappella groups had been planning the invitational event for several months. After sending invitations to schools and looking into venues, the groups had to choose what they were going to perform. 

The process of choosing songs is not simply choosing what is popular, according to Kasey Abell ’25, musical director of City Belles. 

“Sometimes you could really love a song and it might not translate super well into a cappella because there are no instruments,” Abell said. “It’s only our voices.”

Matthew Rodriguez ’22, president of 54th and City and a member of Hawkappella, said arranging a song to be sung a cappella can take about 12 hours. The group then learns the piece and rehearses before performing live, but Rodriguez said their audiences make the hours worth it. 

“It’s a great experience to see the effect that we can have on people in a show where we have a song that we pour hours into practicing and then we come on stage and people cheer for us,” Rodriguez said.  

Stockton University’s co-ed group, Stockapella, sings their last song at the Invitational.

Abell agreed that performing live benefits the entire music community on campus. 

“It’s also really nice to bring awareness to the arts and the music department on campus as well, and get other students excited about it,” Abell said. “We sing music that a lot of people recognize, and it brings students together and supports the music side of St. Joe’s.”

Erin Groves ’24, president of City Belles, said a cappella groups provide students the chance to sing with friends and others who love to sing.

“The best part about an a cappella group is you’re working as a team,” Groves said. “It’s not just a soloist or a duet. It’s working as a team and a group to become one family to sing together and make it sound like it would be on the radio.” 

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