Yale's cappella to echo in the City

Yale's cappella to echo in the City

A Cappella

An all-woman, a cappella group from Yale University is set to rock the City with its unique music style. A cappella is performed by either an individual or a group which sings without using instrumental sound.

A cappella group typically has 10 to 20 singers so that multiple voices cover each part but are smaller than a typical chorus. The speciality of a cappella is that it creates sounds with voices.

“We imitate drums, saxophones, violins, trumpets, and more with our voices. It’s an amazing amount of work for a beautiful and unique result,” says Katey McDonald, a member of the group Whim ‘n Rhythm.

The group was formed 30 years ago in Yale University, and its members change every year. Members of junior classes are auditioned every year. The audition includes various musical exercises as well as a solo. From there, top 14 singers become part of the next year's Whim ‘n Rhythm.

The act of singing a cappella goes back to medieval times but cappella groups like these only took off in the early 1900s in the United States. The group tours domestically and in the greater New England area annually, visiting locations from New York and Los Angeles to Hong Kong and Cairo. It recently founded a full-fledged Alumnae Board to help build the group’s legacy from beyond Yale’s campus.

The group is hopeful that their music would be loved by Indians even though the concept is not very known here. “A cappella tends to please all audiences because it is unique. The songs we do are also recognisable and which people already like. And who doesn’t like another version of their favourite song?,” asks Katey.

The group has been working out a set list for the event that will please all types of audiences in India, with both old and new favourites. The group rehearses three times a week for about five to six hours but has been preparing all year for the India tour.

For them, the most challenging part in singing without an instrument is to stay in the same key. “The most challenging part is staying in the same key but we have been singing together for a year and know how to listen and tune to each other,” she says.

Ask what message they would like to put across through their public performance, Katey replies, “We want to spread the idea that music and the arts are important for all people. Obviously, since we are an all women’s group, there is a slight feminist slant and we want to remind women and girls that they too can be empowered performers and leaders.

We hope that through the music we can portray the great strength that being part of a women’s group has given us, and also the joy that comes from being part of the performing community.” Whim ‘n Rhythm will be performing on June 9 and 10 at
SelectCity Walk, Saket.

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