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Acaspolooza: A Cappella on Campus

On Friday, Oct. 20, Villanova’s a cappella groups, including the Haveners, Measure Up, Minor Problem, Nothing But Treble, The Sirens, The Spires, The Supernovas and Vocal Minority, performed in Driscoll Hall. The event raised money for Villanova’s Special Olympics Fall Festival and came with a surprise, as each of the groups planned to dress up according to a theme that was kept secret from the others. The performances showcased the hard work and dedication of the groups and each member. 

The Villanovan had the opportunity to sit down with Kayla MacKinnon, music director of The Haveners, and Nick Menendez of Measure Up to gain insight into the preparation involved in this performance and what it is like to be a part of a cappella at Villanova. 

MacKinnon is the current music director of The Haveners, an all-treble group that has been at Villanova since 1963. The Haveners prioritize having a tight-knit group that enjoys spending time and making music together. The members like to say, “we get to go to rehearsal,” as opposed to having to go, as they believe it is a privilege. The group in this way becomes a “home on campus,” where members can find support for things beyond just a cappella. 

Being a part of The Haveners also involves getting to know the other a cappella groups on campus. When asked about the relationships between groups, MacKinnon celebrated how supportive the groups are of each other and the ways in which everyone in the larger a cappella community puts in time to get to know each other.  Members make an effort to support and promote other groups’ social media pages, as well as support them at events and competitions. 

“Each group has its own vibe,” MacKinnon said. She said The Haveners are goofy and don’t take things too seriously, always making sure that they are having fun.

Though it is fun, preparing for Acaspolooza in the fall and Palooza in the spring is hard work. The group must choose songs for which they then arrange, learn and create choreography. 

Menendez is a member of Measure Up, an all-gender a cappella group which was founded in 2018. When asked what his favorite part of being in an a cappella group is, he explained that it is the people, as Measure Up prides itself on having fun and making good music. He went on to explain that being a part of an a cappella group on campus means you “have individual families but still are part of one big family.” Menendez gave insight into the process of song selection the group uses to ensure its set will best showcase its members’ talents. All the members can recommend songs to the music director, who then narrows the list. From there, the group votes on its favorite songs. They then prepare meetings three times a week for rehearsals, and more often right before a big performance.

With all of the hard work each a cappella group put in, Acaspolooza was a huge success and a fun night for all who attended. 

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