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Chris Collum | Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Halftime, an up and coming 20 member a capella group on campus, recently released its second album, “noted.” The album consists of 10 covers of popular songs like Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song.” The Observer had the chance to interview the group’s president, senior Meghan McDermott.

How did Halftime start? Tell me a little bit about the formation of the group as well the members’ previous a capella experience.

Halftime was founded in 2004 by Zack Madden and Kevin Hoelscher. They saw a gap in the Notre Dame musical community and decided to fill it with a coed pop/rock a cappella ensemble. In the last few years the audition process has become much more intense and competitive. We accept any and all applicants — some have extensive a cappella experience, some sang in their high school choir and some have no experience at all.  Most of the members who are accepted into the group have musical experience, however. 

Do you have any long- or short-term goals for the group?

Producing this CD was a huge goal for the group. For some time now we have wanted to create a physical product that could stand on its own as a representation of Halftime.  This semester our spring concert is very early, so we’ll have lots of time at the end of the year to work on my next goal for the group, which is to sing at more off-campus events, possibly in some South Bend high schools. 

Tell me a little bit about the recording and production of “noted.” How did that happen? How long did it take?

The recording process was very extensive. We started in October 2009, and finished in the spring of 2010. Recording entailed individual sessions for every part on every song, so we spent a lot of time in the studio. After recording, Zack Madden edited all of the tracks before sending them to a professional studio for mixing and mastering. In all, the whole process took over a year to complete.

I found the variety of songs on your CD (from Keith Urban to The Hush Sound) interesting. How do you guys choose songs to cover?

Basically, we just choose songs that we like. All of our music is arranged by Halftime members, so everyone has a say in what we sing. Now that the group has been around for a few years we have a fairly large repertoire that we can dig through and pull out “old” songs in addition to arranging new songs that are popular right now.  The diversity of musical interests of our members results in a wide variety of musical styles and songs.

How would you respond to comparisons to the popular Fox TV show “Glee,” which seem to be inevitable for many a capella groups recently?

You’re right — comparisons to “Glee” are inevitable.  If “Glee” is making more people interested in a cappella, then we don’t mind. We are definitely not the same as “Glee” (for instance, they don’t actually sing a cappella on the show; they always have instrumental accompaniment) but we are all fans of the show. We do generally try to stay away from the songs that are on “Glee” though, because we don’t want to be a “Glee” cover group. I think that the only song we both sing is “Don’t Stop Believing,” which we already had an arrangement of before “Glee” started.


Contact Chris Collum at ccollum@nd.edu