You Expect Me to Do What…? Start an Accappella Group? Oh, is That All?

Let me just say this. Starting an accappella group is probably one of the most challenging, exciting, and baffling experiences you will have. Assuming you’re insane enough to try and start one.

I am not a music major.

I am not a teaching or conducting major.

I am a Landscape Architecture major.

Ask me about the Latin name of a White Birch tree. I would tell you the name, along with the genus, species, native country, growth cycle, germination period, and other things that to everyone else sounds like a language spoken in remote areas of Africa. But ask me how to construct a minor 7th chord? I don’t think so. I can’t even read piano music enough to play “Ode to Joy” without using “Great Big Dreams For America” and “All Cows Eat Grass”.
My skills consist of:
Singing the music someone else has arranged for me
A stubborn nature that insists upon doing the opposite of what everyone says I should do

Not exactly top notch skill sets for someone who has to lead 16 or so girls for auditions, meetings, and musical know-how. And yet here I am. Four to six days away from auditioning twenty to twenty-five girls for a group that hasn’t even started yet.

How did this even start? you may ask. I don’t really know. I was messing around on photoshop one day and made a fake poster for a fake group that didn’t even exist yet. Ball State, at the time of last Spring, had only one accappella group. And they had just started that fall. It was a guys group called “Note to Self”. They performed at our Spring choir concert and I just remember thinking, “Wow, wouldn’t it be great for someone to start a girl’s accappella group too?” So I went home and stayed up till about three in the morning, making this stupid poster that no one would probably see, ever.

The next day, I get a Facebook message from my choir teacher here at school that says she wants me and two other girls to meet with the new choir teacher for next year, just so that we can hash out details and events for the next semester. So we meet up and have lunch, having a grand ole time, when my new choir teacher asks us about ideas for the new school year. Since I had just devoted half my night to the idea of an accappella group (well, a poster, actually) I brought up the idea that, “if someone started an accappella group here at Ball State for girls, I think it would be cool”. Famous last words, right?

They all think it’s a great idea, of course.

We talk a bit, and before I know it, us three girls have been put in charge of trying to start an accappella group for women on campus. Uhm, wait what? I don’t remember volunteering to LEAD, I just wanted to PARTICIPATE. Oh well, i think to myself, I still have the other two girls to help, right?

Wrong. I get an email halfway into the summer from one of the girls saying she can’t do it because of her schedule this year. I tell her that’s fine, and it is. I still have one other girl to help with this. However, I get an email from the OTHER girl saying she also cannot help out because of HER schedule in the fall. So that leaves, well…


The forecast is looking bleak on the accappella horizon at this point. I did not think I had enough experience and know-how to start a group by myself, and without the other two girls (who happened to be music majors), it just did not seem possible. I talked to my mom about it, and she agreed. Starting this group by myself would be too stressful for just one person and that I should just wait and see what happens.

Now, remember earlier what I said about my stubborn nature that always wants to do the OPPOSITE of what people tell me I should do? Yeah. It started kicking in around the end of July. That silly little poster kept popping up at the most inconvenient intervals. It was my fault for saving it in my photoshop folder anyways. One day I was looking at it and thought why not? Why not try and get some music and maybe sing with a couple friends next year? After all, a lot of people in my program were musically inclined and had told me that they had been in singing groups before. This could be fun.

So the next day I go to my high school choir teacher and tell him my idea. He thinks it’s great and gives me two pieces of music to get started. I contact all my friends at school and they enthuse about the idea. Everything is going smoothly, but there was one problem. I wanted a couple girls that I knew from choir to join, just so that the group could have a good mix of music and non-music majors.

So I start a group on Facebook and tell my friends to join. A couple tell me that it is too hard on their schedule next fall, so there is less than I suspected and there were definitely not enough to start even a small group. So I post the group link in my status as a call out to my friends, seeing if they would like to join this “little group” we were starting. The first day it started out as four.

Then it grew to eight.

By the end of the week, I had about twelve girls in this group, and I didn’t even know half of them. It looked like this accappella idea was more popular than I gave it credit for. Hmmmmm…..
The first week of school arrives and I’ve made a decision. So I pull up my pohotoshop one last time and make some final adjustments to the poster and badabing, badaboom, that poster is the product.

I tell my choir teacher about it and she gets really excited. So she has me stand up in front of the class and give a little speech about what the group was and what we hoped to accomplish. I can just tell you right now, I made everything about that “little speech” up, right on the spot, as I was talking. I hadn’t given any thought to things like “goals” and “accomplishments” yet, but here I was, sounding like I knew what the hell was going on.

The call-out meeting that I made the posters for turned out to be a huge success. About twelve girls came to the meeting, with six or eight more emailing me because they could not make the audition. This was three times the turnout I had expected! Pretty soon everyone was asking me about auditions and dates and, lo and behold, here we are today. I’ve uploaded the songs I picked for auditions (consequently, the songs I had been given over the summer) and have the dates nearly set. All that’s left to do is, sleep, eat, and pray until my pants get holes in them.

Until the next update, wish me luck!


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