Soc of the week 30.11.12: A Capella Society

Leeds Student Soc of the WeekPresident: Jerrard Doran

Membership: £10/year

Contact: Find them on Facebook here.

Regular meetings: Rehearsals on Sunday and Wednesday evenings

A Cappella Soc, otherwise known as The Songsmiths, meet twice a week on Sunday and Wednesday evenings to rehearse a selection of unaccompanied popular songs. Awash with the musically talented, the group comprises 16 voices, split equally into sopranos, altos, tenors and basses. Rehearsals are relaxed and enjoyable, with a lot of unsurprisingly vibrant characters in the group, but I’m assured that they’re not just here for a laugh. Phoebe Katis, their Musical Director, tells me, “We have fun, obviously, but what we’re ultimately preparing for is Voice Festival UK, an A Cappella competition in February where we’ll be performing.” For this, the group will prepare 12 minutes of songs, which they perform to a live audience, alongside other university A Cappella groups from across the country. The rehearsal I went along to last week allowed me an insight into these preparations.

First, the group was led in an amusing display of vocal warm-ups, which saw them spread out across the room to sing scales of vowel-sounds and clashing harmonies, before splitting into gender groups to practice their latest pieces. I was impressed especially by the boys’ rendition of Mulan’s ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’. It was particularly impressive not only for their enthusiastic “HUAAH” sounds, which demonstrated their dedication to each character, but because they actually sang in Chinese, a remarkable feat for anyone who doesn’t speak the language, but necessary for an upcoming performance at a Chinese Society event. The girls sang a tuneful version of Alicia Keys’ ‘Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart’, although they were slightly more distracted by their excitement about the next day’s social event which was, perhaps unsurprisingly, karaoke.

As far as I can tell, A Cappella Soc seems like a great way to spend a few hours each week. The singing was great, and I left in a wonderful mood. In fact, I enjoyed my evening so much I didn’t even notice the rain as I cycled home, unashamedly singing Mulan at the top of my voice.

Watch The Songsmiths performing at the Lippy magazine launch earlier this week:

words: Catherine Vale

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