Countdown to Palooza: Meet Vocal Minority

Vocal+Minority

Vocal Minority

In the weeks leading up to A Cappella Palooza, Culture Editor Alison Nieto will be talking to each A Cappella group to discuss their hopes and aspirations for this year’s concert. A Cappella Palooza will take place on March 23, 2018. 

 

You can quote me on that!” was the phrase of the night during the interview with Vocal Minority. The guys broke into laughter with smiles spreading across their faces. Immediately, passing students could tell that there was something special about these guys. Vocal Minority is one of the two all-male a cappella groups on campus. 

It was founded in 2003 with the objective of being a group of guys who like to hang out and sing. The group sat down with me to discuss its upcoming expectations for this year’s A Cappella Palooza,which is set to take place in late March. At last year’s concert, they performed songs such as Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” and Jason Derulo’s “Love Lockdown” to raving audiences. This year’s selection is a little different. 

Although they still have one more song to select for the concert, sophomore music director Kyle Garino said that he is the most excited to perform their closer, which he arranged. Thomas Anderson (President of Vocal Minority) elaborated, saying that a lot of group is really excited to perform the opener, which they would prefer to keep secret until the day of the event. “It’s going to be fun because it’s a unique song and we’re having two different soloists and one of them is singing it up the octave and one of them is singing it down the octave,” Anderson said. “It’s going to be this really cool contrast.” 

Looking back at their performances from last semester, the group agreed that the song “Brother” by Kodaline was their favorite to perform. “’Brother’ was a big step up for us,” Anderson said. “We had a main soloist and then two background voices, which is a big deviation from what we usually do, which is parts. It was really cool because we had this blend of all these solo parts in the background together.” Sophomore Liam McCaffrey also added that Vocal Minority does not often do very serious songs, which is why “Brother” was so different from their usual repertoire. 

“A big thing for [Vocal Minority] is we really like to blend a lot of different styles together, but we’ve really never done one where it’s just started with a soloist and then we just started slowly building around it,” Anderson said. “I don’t think we’ve ever started in a place so quiet and I don’t think we’ve ever gotten to a place as hype as the ending of “Brother”. I think it’s definitely looking for songs like that. It’s something we are looking for moving forward because we went outside our comfort zone and what we’re used to and I think personally everyone was blown away by it.” 

Upon asking what makes Vocal Minority unique from other groups on campus, junior Scott Walczyk immediately answered “flannels,” which elicited laughter from the other guys. “I’ve never met a more eclectic group of people with such different interests,” Liam McCaffrey said. “We all have our weirdest quirks and we’re all freaks, I swear.” 

“It’s a group that’s so huge on letting the group be the group that it currently is at the time, so that’s why we don’t wear apparel or anything because we want people to be comfortable in whatever they’re wearing,” Anderson said. “That’s why we’re kind of changing our style and songs we’re doing because it’s the music that people are interested in. We don’t really want to be put into a mold. I like that this group is very much impacted by the new members we take every semester.” 

Since A Cappella Palooza is such a different event than the end of the concert, the group has to think about multiple different variables, such as the degree of perfection for each song as well as additional choreography. 

“Usually, like they alluded to before, we never dress up, we never really take our performance too seriously but Palooza is just such a special event where there’s so many people up there and it changes to the point where people want to do choreo because we want to sound the best that we can,” graduate student Thomas Palazzolo said. “Palooza brings that more than anything.” 

The group plans to start choreographing after it has learned its set, in order to ensure they are solid musically. “Music is the priority,” McCaffrey added. 

To close out the interview, the group was asked for some fun facts about themselves. McCaffrey explained that the group’s name is a play on the term ‘silent majority,’ which is an unspecified large group of people who do not express their opinions publically. The group is also the only to have sold apparel. Last year, they bought a box of shirts that said ‘I <3 VM” across the front and quickly sold out, to customers that included friends and even student athletes. If there is a high enough demand on campus for the shirts, the group believes there is a high possibility that the shirts will come back. 

As a group that has been amping up the quality of their music, Vocal Minority wants the audience to look forward to having a good time. Their fun is infectious. From watching them perform to standing around talking to them, it’s almost impossible not to smile and enjoy the company. Above all else, Vocal Minority is a group of guys who like to have fun and make good music together, and audiences should be excited to watch them in action on March 23.