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SMC a cappella group prepares for fall concert

| Friday, November 18, 2016

Saint Mary’s a cappella group Bellacappella hopes to hit a high note at its fall concert Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium.

Senior Lauren Zyber, co-musical director of Bellacappella, said the concert will feature a range of songs, including classics such as “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley and newer hits such as “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. The group will also try to ignite school spirit by singing “The Belles of Saint Mary’s,” as it does at every concert, she said.

“I love looking out into the audience and seeing people singing along or swaying,” Zyber said. “Sometimes people get tears in their eyes. I think music is another way for us to share in the sisterhood with each other.”

According to Zyber, support from the College community will enhance the concert because listening to music can be an interactive experience.

“I think a performance is always a two-way street,” Zyber said. “It’s fun to know that people are there to have a good time with us. It takes the pressure off, too.”

Zyber said over the past few years, Bellacappella has somewhat blurred the distinction between the soloist and the background artists, focusing more on harmonizing in certain songs.

“In those pieces, we have to really listen to each other and try to sound really unified, but we all have really unique voices, so it’s really cool to see all that come together as a really cohesive sound even though we’re all really different,” Zyber said.

Junior Kayse McGough, treasurer for Bellacappella, said students can form close bonds with classmates through involvement with the music department. She said Bellacappella attracts many students who are not music majors, and it gives members a chance to meet people of various backgrounds and interests.

“Because we are a liberal arts college, each department tends to be a little bit smaller than what you would see at a larger university,” McGough said. “Having an a cappella group kind of reaches out to those people who wouldn’t necessarily look into the music department unless we had something that was related to popular music.”

McGough said belonging to Bellacappella forces her to confront her stage fright since the group hosts concerts and sings at various events throughout the academic year.

“Being in Bella has really given me the confidence to perform in front of my peers,” McGough said. “The first song or two, I get kind of nervous. When there are only twelve people in a group, if one person messes up, it can kind of throw off the group.”

According to McGough, the older members serve as role models for newer additions to the group.

“Each year, all the girls that have been in charge have really inspired me, and I’ve been really happy to watch them kind of grow into that position,” McGough said. “I’ve aspired to be like them. They’ve always acted as mentors to me and have kind of helped me along academically, musically and socially.”

McGough said looking into the audience and seeing members of the Saint Mary’s community enjoying themselves is a feeling like no other.

“In terms of having the support of our peers, it makes us feel good about what we do,” she said. “It makes us feel motivated and energized to create a better arrangement or to practice more or to be the best that we can be.”

The group unites Saint Mary’s students and enhances the community, Zyber said. Members try to maintain a spirit of positivity and optimism, rather than focusing on stress that may accompany a performance.

“Since we are Saint Mary’s only a cappella group, it’s really nice when the school does support us,” she said. “Once we start feeling nervous or like this is a burden, then it takes all the fun out of it, and then it’s like ‘What’s the point?’”

Zyber said she hopes all of Bellacappella’s hard work pays off with a successful concert.

“I think if we have fun, it will be a success,” Zyber said. “I’m most looking forward to getting to share our music with people. I love seeing members of the group perform, and it’s exciting for me to watch them.”

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About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

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