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GCU Acapella Club: A New Foundation

October 3, 2018

By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff

Student pride.

It’s set the tone for the Grand Canyon University Acapella Club for the 2018-19 season. Student leaders have stepped up and taken the reins to transform and establish a new acapella legacy on the GCU campus.

The Acapella Club wanted the 2018-19 season to be a stepping stone for the future of acapella at GCU. Lopes Head Coach Philip Carr allowed his students to take on more leadership roles to create a new system to not only better the acapella club, but the individuals as well. The student leaders created a plan of action to create student coaching positions to bring stronger student leadership, new ways of forming groups and enhancing students musical abilities.

The leadership group is comprised of six students: Club President and senior Eddy Mahler, Club Vice President and senior Sedona Tracey, and juniors Chase Gray, Sarah Rickert, Sara Brazil and James Van Hoten IV. Each coach was selected due to their own personal Acapella Club experiences and personal strengths in different areas such as harmonies, rhythm, beat-boxing/vocal percussion, lead singing, background vocals and group performances.

“The more leadership our club can have, the better the outcome for our performances,” said Tracey. “Through our introduction of student coaches, we are now able to provide better and more tailored feedback to each of our groups by coaching them in private sessions. This allows for more attention to be paid to the individual sounds that comprise each group, producing a more developed product in the end.”

“It is just a milestone that is amazing to reach,” added Mahler. “It also makes the club and teams more ours, (and) gives us more ownership and pride in the club.”

Over 40 students have joined the club this semester. Each student auditioned and were assessed by the student coaches to be paired in a group that shared the same genre style and vocal abilities. The student coaches then created five groups: worship, Broadway/Theater, two pop groups and A Caloppella, an established group from last season that sung mashups of popular music. The next step is to establish their group names, – an important element in the acapella world.

“Just as every sports team has its own name, so should each group,” said Tracey. “The group name allows for the personality and style of each group to be heard before they even step on the stage. It is a first impression of sorts. Each of our groups are going to need to be known by a name when they become famous. The crowd needs to be given a name to chant when our club makes it into the big time.”

The groups have begun working on different pieces for the upcoming Arizona Collegiate A Cappella Festival (AZCAF) in Gilbert on October 13.

The AZCAF is an annual festival that brings college teams from GCU, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona together as an acapella community to participate in acapella seminars, director swaps, meet-and-greets and a concert to end the day performed by a variety of acapella groups in attendance.

The Acapella Club will host their first official showcase of the season on November 13 at GCU Thunderground.  Admission is free.

Love to sing? Interested in the Acapella Club? Contact Head Coach Philip Carr today!