Singing a Different Tune: Running A Capella Over Zoom

Last spring, when the world went into isolation, a capella was the last thing on most people’s minds. As singing contributes more to the spread of germs than other activities, it is likely going to be one of the last things to come back in person. But this year, the heads of GDS a cappella are not going to let their art be lost.

For all groups, which include Eat At Joes, a co-ed group; Five O’Clock Shadow, an all-male identifying group; Notified, a non-male identifying group; and New Soul, a co-ed group, audition forms are due October 30, and call-backs will be announced on November 2. 

Despite still figuring out the logistics of a cappella on Zoom, the heads are hopeful for this year. Pallavi Bhargava, a co-head of Eat At Joe’s, is feeling “as optimistic as we could be, considering the circumstances,” especially because “last year, everything was just thrown into distance learning and we had no time to prepare, but now we have had time to prepare.” 

Unfortunately, there are challenges that come with singing online. Zoom does not work when two or more people are speaking at the same time, let alone singing at the same time. 

Bhargava described singing together on Zoom: “It’s really hard to have everyone sing at once. It doesn’t line up. It’s really weird.” Eat At Joe’s plans to have different voice parts practice on different days, so there will be fewer people singing at once. 

Caleigh Vergeer, a co-head of New Soul—a R&B and pop group—went a little more in depth about their plans. Vergeer explained, “We’ll all have group meetings on Zoom. We’ll play a track with everyone’s part on it, and everyone will be on mute and sing with the track.” 

She further clarified, “Depending how confident people feel, we would have people sing one at a time on Zoom, and we would record a master track with all the people’s parts on it.” This was also how Julian Galkin, a co-head of Five O’Clock Shadow, described his group’s plans to return on Zoom.

Of course, these plans are not set in stone right now—each group will likely adjust the plans based on their success. 

When asked about Five O’Clock Shadow’s goals for this year, Galkin’s wishes were pretty simple: “It’s my dream just to hear ten people singing Taylor Swift, just all of us, together.” 

Vergeer’s main goal for this year is to maintain New Soul’s energy over Zoom. “Either way, we will still have a bunch of fun, and, you know, we need to try, right? So it will still be New Soul, which is this amazing and goofy space,” she said.  

The heads are feeling optimistic about a cappella’s virtual fate. Despite a cappella being one of the more dangerous in-person activities, the groups are working around challenges and are excited to bring new members to their groups.

Margaret Blomstrom ’24