Female voices form Marquette’s newest a cappella group

The Meladies are the latest a cappella group to hit Marquette University. Photo courtesy of Natasha Mraz

The Gold ’n Blues and the Naturals now have a sister in the Marquette a cappella family, and she is a dose of sweet, spice and everything nice.

The Meladies, Marquette’s upcoming all-female a cappella group, is the campus’s newest musical act. Though the official paperwork still needs approval for permanent club status, the Meladies expect to be official within the next two weeks.

“Marquette has really wanted to start a female a cappella group for a really long time,” said Kristen Powers, a sophomore in the College of Communication. “They have the co-ed Gold ’n Blues and the all-male Naturals so having us is really pivotal for Marquette because it completes the full circle for a cappella groups on campus.”

Powers, who serves as the group’s president, notes that the Gold ’n Blues were instrumental in the creation of the Meladies. Most of the women in the group were unable to join the Gold ’n Blues at the beginning of the semester, and this provided a way for them to get involved in the a cappella scene.

“After about five dinners at Schroeder, we decided that we were going to make this group and were going to go through with it, so we started filling out paperwork,” Powers said. “We all just had a big passion for music, and that is something we wanted to add into our Marquette experience.”

As for the name of the group, Powers created it after the group brainstormed various names over dinner and on their Facebook group. After a member said “The Melodies,” Powers decided to tweak it a bit.

“I looked at it and thought ‘well, that’s kind of boring,’” Powers said. “I changed the spelling to ‘The Meladies,’ but I still wanted it to be pronounced ‘The Melodies,’ because ‘The Meladies’ sounds a little off. We all just kind of agreed on being called ‘The Melodies’ spelled like ‘The Meladies.’”

A primary focus of the naming process was picking one that no other school in the nation had. According to Kathryn Slusher, a freshman in the College of Business, many a cappella groups at different universities have the same name, and the Meladies wanted to be original.

“We wanted to set ourselves apart,” Slusher said. “That’s what the Naturals and the Gold ’n Blues did. There are no groups at other schools that have the same names.”

The group is composed primarily of freshmen, with the addition of two sophomores. As Natasha Mraz, a freshman in the College of Communication, noted, it’s good that they are starting so young.

“We all talked about it, how we can build our group now and establish ourselves for the next three years,” Mraz said.

With auditions starting at the beginning of next semester, the group looks to expand their numbers. However, Powers does not want to limit the group’s potential.

“I think the best tip of advice (the Naturals) gave us is if you’re looking to add more people, but only two people come in who are strong enough to be in the group, only take those two,” Powers said. “But if you are looking for 16 people, but more than four people came in who were amazing, keep them all. We’re just going to make it so our sound will be really solid.”

Along with holding auditions next semester, the group hopes to continue to sing at the Naturals and the Gold N’ Blues concerts to build a fan base and get its name out.

“I would say if we have a concert by the end of next semester, that’s a success,” Powers said.

The Meladies’ close relationship with the Naturals has been critical to its success. The group reached out to the Meladies from the beginning, and Powers credits their input as an established group on campus as an exceptional help.

Both groups have similar positions within their organizations, and because of that, they have become mentors for the women’s group. The Naturals went as far as inviting the Meladies to a rehearsal.

“We went into a rehearsal with them, and they showed us what works and what doesn’t work,” Mraz said. “And they warned us it’s going to get hard but just to stay together.”

And because the Naturals pushed the group to form and get its name out this semester, the Meladies were able to perform with them at the Gold ’n Blues concert last weekend. They will perform again with the Naturals at its concert on December 7.

“The Naturals were gracious enough to have us come in on their concert with the Gold ’n Blues,” Slusher said. “We didn’t think we were going to be able to perform at all this semester.”

The group covers songs and doesn’t foresee creating any original music in the future. However, the members do create original parts in the songs they cover. As time goes on, Powers said they will bring in arrangers to arrange their own music to cover. No matter the song, Powers thinks a cappella is really special and worth singing.

“It’s such a different experience than going to a concert with drums and guitars. Each song you hear is coming from a person with their voice. You can create a guitar out of a voice; you can create a snare out of a voice. It’s really exciting to see a cappella.”

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