Last semester as a very fresh freshman, I decided that I wanted to try out for one of the a cappella groups at Rice. In case you haven’t heard of it, a cappella is a vocal style of music where all sounds are made using only the mouth (without musical accompaniment).
There are five a cappella groups on campus: Nocturnal (co-ed), the Philharmonics (co-ed), the Low Keys (girls), the Apollos (guys), and the Basmati Beats (co-ed). As an aside, one of my friends on campus is working on the formation of a sixth, Chinese-pop focused group as well, so that goes to show that you can make things happen at Rice if you want to!
Each of the groups consist of approximately twelve to sixteen people across voice parts, plus a beatboxer. It sounds like a lot, but you need a lot of people to make sounds to fill up the RMC Chapel, where the groups hold their concerts.
I was fortunate enough that my auditions and callbacks led to me becoming a member of Nocturnal. It’s been an experience nothing less than anything I would expect at Rice: different, challenging, but fun.
You might wonder what the difference between the three co-ed groups are. Well, in comparison to the Phils (who perform mostly pop) and BB (who do South Asian/Western fusion), Nocturnal sings songs that could be classified as alternative or ‘hipster.’ We’re a diverse group of people with really different tastes (for example, I don’t listen to anything in English, while four of the radio stations on our president’s dash are decades) and that usually results in set lists where I know zero of the six songs before we break out the sheet music. It’s a cool experience anyway; I’ve come to like songs I’d never have listened to on my own, and it’s very indicative of how the diversity at Rice leads you to try new things, too.
Last semester, I was lucky to make music with some of the most musically talented people I’ve ever met, and I can’t wait for the years to come. As a last note, here’s my favorite performance from our most recent concert: “All These Things We’ve Done” by the Killers, soloed by alto Clair Hopper: