At the beginning of every school year, University of Virginia's many a cappella groups gather for what is known as the Rotunda Sing, held this year on Wednesday, Aug. 23rd.
That is where Joe Cassara, a graduate of Chantilly High School, found out about the Hullabahoos, a very popular all-male a cappella group on campus. Joe is now a rising fourth year and the president of the Hullabahoos, and is loving the experience.
People who didn't sing in high school are joining a cappella groups in college. One main reason drives Cassara. "Girls," he said. "Girls are more impressed with you if you say 'I'm in the (enter group name here).' You also meet girls on trips. Being part of an a cappella group makes you feel like a rock star."
Erin Hrubrik, another Chantilly graduate, is also in an a cappella group at UVA, know as the Virginia Belles. "People have more time in college to explore other interests and get involved in more things," she said.
Another alluring aspect of a cappella groups is that they are entirely student run. Matt Spray was the musical director in his a cappella group at JMU. "As musical director, I ran rehearsals, made sure everyone was on pitch, things like that."
A cappella groups do everything from running the auditions to picking what music they are going to sing (usually pop/contemporary songs, such as Outkast's Hey Ya! and Walk Away by Kelly Clarkson) to paying up to $30,000 to make a professional CD.
Groups also get opportunities to perform at different places and events. Last year, the Hullabahoos were invited to sing at the Republican National Convention. "It was so cool, Senator Trent Lott got up and sang with us!" Cassara said.
As many, if not more than, 100 people show up for auditions. Generally about three to four people are selected.
"Be calm and confident, and select a song that best shows off your voice and your personality," said Hrubrik. The Hullabahoos are also having a workshop to help future a cappella singers with their voices, and to show people what college a cappella is all about.
The workshop will be held in the spring on the University of Virginia campus, and participants will have to pay to attend. To find out more about the Hullabahoos or the workshop, visit www.hullabahoos.com.