Acapella groups at ELHS are working hard all year
by: Julia Walker
The music wing might not be a familiar place to some students, but it is home to three acapella groups that flood the halls with beautiful harmonizing, a sound that can make anybody feel welcome and part of a team.
The three groups at East Lyme High School are Sweet Harmony, an all-girls’ group, Rockapella, a boys’ group, and Trebled Waters, a mixed group. Although all the meetings and group dynamics are different, they each share a warm and exciting quality.
“My favorite part of acapella is that everyone can come together, use their voices as instruments, and create powerful music that moves people,” said senior Alexa Stewart, who leads Trebled Waters with junior Adam Benway. When the musicians’ voices blend together while singing, it is clear that they are already close. “I love forming new bonds with people and the atmosphere in acapella is really fun. At the end of it, we are all family,” said junior Chris Gregor, who co-leads Rockapella alongside junior Adam Benway.
Everyone can join a maximum of two groups, which includes Trebled Waters and either Sweet Harmony or Rockapella. At the beginning of each school year, there are open auditions.
What makes acapella different than other clubs is that it is student-run. The groups arrange winter, February, and spring concerts without a teacher.
“When they are running their own rehearsals, making their own arrangements, and singing well, it’s gratifying to see they are doing it all independently,” said choir teacher and acapella advisor Anthony Maiese. Being student-run also lets acapella groups pick their own song material. “I love that acapella is student-run, it lets us be creative. I have input on the songs we perform,” said sophomore Brooke Erinakes. Being student-led gives acapella groups an opportunity to change each year depending on the people who join.
“My freshman year, we went to [senior centers] and it was great to see the joy music can bring to others,” said senior Hannah Scheyder, who runs Sweet Harmony with sophomore Hannah Goldreich. The groups also perform at events in addition to concerts. Last year, Rockapella went on the ICRV radio station. For performances, musicians do a mixture of pop songs that are on the radio and throwback songs to relate to all audiences. “One of my plans this year is to create arrangements that let every individual shine through and be able to find confidence in their own voice,” Scheyder said. Even though all three acapella groups are different, they all see themselves as family.