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Since Pitch Perfect hit our screens the world has gone crazy for a cappella – ever thought of yourself as a bit of an Anna Kendrick? Because Southampton’s a cappella group, Melodics, might be the society for you. I chatted to president Yvette Mepham about what makes Melodics such a great society to be a part of.
Started in 2014, Melodics has grown in numbers every year, and we’ve learnt and developed our style, so that this year’s group hopes to be better than ever. Melodics is the only a cappella group at Southampton; if you’re not sure what a cappella is, we do vocal harmony performances where all the music is created by our bodies – singing, clapping, beatboxing, no backing tracks, no instruments, just us! Have a look at this video for an idea of how it works. The best part is there are no auditions, which means absolutely anyone who loves singing can join.
What makes a cappella different from other choirs?
Well it’s all done with the voice so there’s no reliance on other instruments, it is literally down to you and what you can produce, and every individual has a place in the group to make the sound so no one is less important than anyone else. Also, with our group, it diverges away from choral music and is very much what’s recent and new, and what’s fun to sing! We’re always up for suggestions of songs and everyone can have an input in the arrangement.
What kind of person is perfect for a cappella?
Everybody! If you’re from a rock background, a pop background, opera, choral, anything, just anyone with a love of music is perfect for it. We’re a mixed group so it adds a nice dynamic coming from different backgrounds – most of us don’t study music and plenty didn’t have much experience other than choirs or bands before we joined.
Do you audition?
No! Which we think makes us a really welcoming group, because it doesn’t matter if you can’t read sheet music or don’t know how to fit your voice into a group, we all figure it out together and learn from each other and from those with more experience. I only had experience with school plays and felt really nervous I wouldn’t be able to keep up and now I’m the president, so if I can do it anyone can!
So what kind of music do you do?
We’ve done a lot of recent chart music, plus some more retro stuff like Fever and I’ve Got The Magic In Me – we want to emphasise we aren’t just a copycat of Pitch Perfect! We love the films (and performed for charity at the opening of the sequel in Eastleigh), and we know that’s how a lot of people have been introduced to a cappella, but we definitely do our own thing as well! Our musical director has arranged some really cool unique stuff for us including mashups.
What socials are planned to help new members feel welcome?
We’ll be doing regular chilled things like Scoops and movie nights, and then around once a month we plan to do nights out, hopefully themed so we can have a chance to dress up a bit!
How do rehearsals work?
So we meet Wednesdays 6-8, and we start off with ice breakers and warm ups – such as the Riff Off (may have stolen this from Pitch Perfect) where someone gives two teams a theme and we have to come up with songs that fit. Then we start to work on whatever song we’re doing that week with our musical director guiding us. We’ll be building up to hopefully doing performances at least at Christmas and Easter, and even more if we can.
What’s the membership fee?
The first three weeks will be free so you can get a feel and see what you think, and then it’s £5 for a whole year, which is one of the cheapest Performing Arts memberships!
Anything else about the society we need to know?
Just that you should come and give it a go if you like singing! There are chances for solos and duets, but also chances to just create the backing melody if you
don’t feel as confident – there’s no pressure, just to have fun and be part of a great group!
So if this sounds like the society for you, or if you want to pop along to the free taster to see what you think, or if you’ve never considered a cappella before but want to give it a try, come along to the first rehearsal on Wednesday 5th October in Building 2/1083 to have a go – we’ll be heading to Scoops after so you can get to know the committee and each other.