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Unchained Melodies to perform winter concert

| Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Unchained Melodies, Notre Dame’s only Christian a cappella group, will perform a winter concert Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Teresa of Avila in Lewis Hall. The group, which sings both Christian hymns and contemporary songs, was formed in 2003 and consists of 14 members, senior and president Sofia Piecuch said.

“We have usually one big concert every year at the end of the semester,” Piecuch said. “During the year we sing at nursing homes, at elementary schools, and we do some singing at tailgates as well.”

The concert is free to the public, Piecuch said, and it provides the perfect opportunity for Unchained Melodies to showcase their most recent work. She said the group usually sings hymns, but they also take some pop songs and change the lyrics to make them their own.

“Our mission is to sing for Christ, and so we try to end every practice in prayer to remember that when we’re singing, we’re singing for him,” Piecuch said.

She said musical talent and strong relationships between members are vital to the success of the a cappella group.

“Something that I’ve been focusing on as president is really fostering friendships,” Piecuch said. “I think people become a lot more invested in the group when they’re friends with one another, and so we try to keep the group small because we think that helps with group communication.”

According to Piecuch, this year’s winter concert is split up in two parts. The first part consists of a Christian music set, and the second part is a Christmas set.

“In the Christmas set we’re doing ‘Carol of the Bells,’ but we’re singing the Pentatonix version, and ‘Run to You,’ which is an original Pentatonix song,” she said.

With the recent heightened interest in a cappella groups, popularized by movies such as “Pitch Perfect,” Piecuch said Unchained Melodies has received much greater interest.

“This year we got a lot more people auditioning than we have in the past, and that was really nice to see that. Half of our group is new this year … most of them are freshmen,” she said.

Piecuch said in the recent years she has also witnessed more collaboration between a cappella groups, and she said this camaraderie is vital to members in a cappella groups because it shows members what their strengths are and what they need to work on. She says a cappella allows musicians the opportunity to trade off solos and discover new talents that emerge by placing themselves in new situations.

“I think there’s a lot of aspects to a cappella that are really appealing,” she said. “It’s nice to see a variety, and it’s also really cool to make the noises the instruments would normally make, and to do that with our voices makes it a lot more interesting.”

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About Selena Ponio

Selena Ponio is from Dallas, Texas and is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame. She is the Associate News Editor for The Observer. Selena lives in Breen-Phillips hall and is majoring in International Economics with a concentration in Spanish and is minoring in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy.

Contact Selena