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Concert to feature collegiate a capella groups

| Friday, April 4, 2014

This Saturday at 8 p.m. in Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, the Undertones, a subset of the Notre Dame Glee Club, will present the ACA, an all-a cappella concert that will feature collaborations with a cappella singing groups such as Indiana University’s Another Round and the Tufts University Beelzebubs. 

ND UndertonesPhoto courtesy of Billy Raseman

Undertones president, senior Billy Raseman, said inspiration for the show stemmed from the recent surge in the popularity of a cappella singing.

“With shows like NBC’s ‘The Sing-Off,’ ‘Glee’ and the movie ‘Pitch Perfect,’ the popularity of a cappella music has shot through the roof, and with this newfound popularity, the genre is changing faster than ever,” Raseman said. “We wanted the chance to see what other college groups are doing and show them what Notre Dame has to offer to the a cappella community. That’s where ACA was born.”

Raseman said the groups began developing the concept of the concert in spring 2013.

“We have been planning this since August and we’ve been talking about the idea since the spring semester of last year,” Raseman said. “Finding the venue, inviting groups, making a marketing plan, buying new attire for the group and all the various other work that has gone into ACA has been a year-long process.”

The Undertones extended invitations to participate to singing groups with prestige, Raseman said. He said member junior Jamie Towey judged prestige through research of collegiate a cappella groups online.

“Jamie Towey, our music director, decided which groups to invite,” he said. “There were some groups that we invited based off of their reputation for excellence — groups like Indiana University’s Another Round and the Tufts Beelzebubs have shaped college a cappella into what it is today.

“Next, Jamie looked to the results of the ICCA — International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella — competitions from the past few years and scoured YouTube videos searching for the best. We found a lot of innovative groups, but the G-Men from Michigan and the Vanderbilt Melodores stood out among the rest.”

The show will feature a diverse range of music and performance from each a cappella group, Raseman said.

“There is a huge range of genres that are going to be covered, including hip hop, folk/country, electronic, R&B, rock, pop, and there may even be a boy band song in there,” Raseman said. “… As far as movement [on stage] goes, some groups may just sing in an arc and let their songs speak for themselves, while others may have intricate choreography to have an added layer to their performance.”

Raseman said the show will offer a cappella and music fans an excellent show. He said he is most excited for the show’s finale.

“I can’t wait for the last song of the concert where we will all get to share the stage,” Raseman said. “This song will feature soloists from each of the groups and will add a unifying element to the performance.

“All the groups coming are going to be phenomenal, and each one brings something new to the table,” he said. “I am not only excited to hear their sets, I can’t wait to talk to each group afterward and learn how they operate.

“We all come from completely different backgrounds so it’ll be an awesome learning experience for everyone involved and just a lot of fun.”

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