Annual A Cappella Festival set for Nov. 2-3

On Nov. 2-3, the Baldwin Wallace campus will be filled with the sound of music by the 2nd annual BW A Capella Festival, hosted by the BW student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.

The festival will kick off with an a cappella concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 in Fynette Kulas Hall in the BW Conservatory of Music and wrap up with a second concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, also in Kulas Hall.

The concerts are free and open to the public, with a donation to help support BW’s ACDA chapter suggested.

The festival will feature performances by eleven student a cappella groups, including BW’s own Fem Valore, Moondaze, Mr. Sun’s Echo, and SŌL.

Guest a cappella groups will include All or Nothing from Strongsville High School, Kanga Blue from Akron University, the Kent Clarks from Kent State University, Vocal Intensity also from Kent, Synergy from Nordonia High School, Unaccompanied from Avon High School, and the barbershop quartet Wing It.

On Saturday, masterclasses on topics relevant to a cappella arrangement and performance will be held in the Strosacker Student Union by a cappella singer arranger, sound engineer, and educator Brianne Holland; choral clinician and director John Pickering; choral director Emilio Jarufe; and BW’s own Moondaze and SŌL.

All participating groups will also perform together in two group numbers, said Jessica Sammarone, co-chair of the BW A Capella Festival and member of BW’s ACDA chapter.

This year’s festival builds on the fun and collaborative spirit of the a cappella festival started by BW’s ACDA chapter last year, said Sammarone.

“Last year, our ACDA chapter realized that many of us had an interest in a cappella music, so we decided to create an event for this,” said Sammarone.

This year, said Sammarone, the festival has increased from one to two days long, and five new guest groups will be attending.

New groups became involved in the festival through local connections and friendships within the a cappella community, she said.

“This is a new thing on BW’s campus, and especially to have all the current a cappella groups come together and sing. It’s really amazing that we could all find a time, schedule it, and just invite all these different groups,” said Mr. Sun’s Echo director Nick Urbanic.

“Having all of these a cappella groups together is a really special thing.”

The masterclasses are another exciting new addition, said Hannah Stater, logistics coordinator for Fem Valore.

“I’m hoping that, for members, they can kind of get some new perspectives on how to write for a cappella, because it’s kind of difficult to condense a bunch of instruments and a bunch of technology into just voices,” said Stater.

“It’s really cool to see how far we can take the human voice, and I’m really looking forward to getting workshopped by outside artists because it kind of gives us a chance to grow.”

This festival has been months in the making, said Urbanic. Sammarone sent out emails to the leaders of BW’s a cappella groups over the summer to begin coordinating the two-day event, Urbanic said, with the planning effort relying on “a lot of communication early, so everyone was on the same page.”

Sammarone said that the effort it took to organize the festival was enormous, and that it took the work of the whole BW chapter of the ACDA and of all the a cappella group directors at BW to make it happen.

The festival is a good opportunity for BW’s ACDA members to work with student choral groups, organize an event, and grow as future choral educators, said Sammarone.

She also hopes the festival shares the fun and beauty of a cappella music with the wider community. “A cappella music is wonderful,” said Sammarone, “because it gives you an outlet to emote, and it promotes community within ensembles and groups of people.”