Sirens end semester on high note

Jeremiah Lim

The Sirens are one of Villanova’s three all-female a cappella groups.

They recently held a concert in Driscoll Hall in conjunction with the male a cappella group Vocal Minority.

The group performed for a full house in a set that included a wide variety of songs, such as “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child and “The Impression That I Get” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

The Villanovan sat down with the group to talk about how they pick songs, what arrangement is like and how they get psyched up for performances.

Not only are they in unison when they sing, but their group chemistry means that they speak in one voice, asking to be quoted together as a group.

Q: We have a variety of different a cappella groups on campus. What makes the Sirens unique? Do you feel as though you have a distinct group personality?

A: We’re a really diverse group in that our members are involved in different activities across campus. We have members involved in club sports, theater, engineering student council, sororities, Ambassadors, etc.

Q: Obviously, you’ve lost some members and have had to incorporate new members into the mix. What has that transition been like?

A: We take a different amount of members every year, and last year was definitely a big transition. This year, we had over 45 people come in and audition, and it took us almost 11 hours to finalize our decisions.

But the transition this year was surprisingly smooth. Everyone wanted to jump in right away, and everyone was really enthusiastic about being part of the group.

Q: Would you say that the group as a whole leans toward a specific style of music?

A: It’s really all over the place. Some people like more jazzy-sounding songs, some people prefer more upbeat songs, some people like songs where someone can rap.

As a group, we have a very eclectic taste. It matches our wide variety of personalities.

Q: How do you choose what songs to sing?

A: Generally, each person will submit three to five songs for consideration. We choose from those and keep narrowing it down. Of course, sometimes someone will just suggest a song and we’ll go with it. That’s how we ended up doing “Survivor.”

It’s a very democratic process. And since we don’t want to repeat songs, every a cappella group sends their songs to the heads of the groups. You have to wait four years before a song becomes eligible again.

Q: What goes into arranging a song? Is it a very collaborative process, or does one person mostly work on it alone?

A: We always want to teach people how to arrange a song. The members that already know how usually take on a partner so everyone gets a chance to learn. Sometimes we’ll just say, “There’s a certain part in this song, go home and figure out how to sing it.” It’s a very flexible and interpretive process. We’ve even changed songs we’ve done in the past.

Q: What are your practices like, particularly when it comes close to concert time?

A: Intense. And very busy. We tend to psyche ourselves out when it comes to crunch time. The performances always seem to creep up on us, but it always comes together.

Q: Is there anything you do to get pumped up for a performance? How do you prepare?

A: For this past performance we had in Driscoll, we all stood up on the desks and rocked out to every song. It was so much fun and got us really pumped up to perform.

Q: Is there any kind of method to the way you sequence your song selection for concerts?

A: We definitely think about our order. For instance, we always want to do an upbeat song last so people leave pumped up. And we usually start off with a more musically intricate, technically difficult piece to get people interested.

Q: How did you like performing with Vocal Minority?

A: We loved it. That group is so much fun. They’re very energetic and so easy to work with. They have so much enthusiasm and the stuff they do is usually very complex and musically interesting.