University a cappella groups gleeful over new albums

The Gold 'n Blues album was recorded off-campus. Photo via goldnblues.com.

Ever since shows like “Glee” and “The Sing-Off” started to surge in popularity, interest in a cappella groups has grown as well. “Glee” in particular is capitalizing on this, releasing albums full of songs from the show for the thoroughly Gleeked-out to snatch up.

But if you’re looking for an a cappella album that hits a little closer to home, all you need to turn to is Marquette’s two a cappella groups, the Gold ’n Blues and the Naturals, both of which are preparing to release their first recorded albums.

The two groups may both perform a cappella, but their origins are different. The Naturals were founded first, in 2003, as Marquette’s very own all-male a cappella group, while the Gold ’n Blues, a co-ed group, were founded in the basement of McCormick in 2008.

While both begin from the same point, taking songs and replacing the instrumentation with vocals, the two groups do vary in their choice of songs and the style they subsequently take, according to Joe Scannell and Matt Campbell, members of the Naturals and Gold ’n Blues, respectively.

“We do contemporary music; we don’t like to do choral-y stuff,” said Campbell, a junior in the College of Communication. “The stuff you hear on the radio is the stuff we do.”

The Naturals, on the other hand, like to keep things a little more traditional, although they do include more modern songs.

“Most of our songs incorporate some barbershop style,” said Scannell, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, in an e-mail. “That is because our founders created the group with that in mind, and we like to pay homage to our roots.”

The groups’ upcoming albums reflect their individual styles, both in sound and production. The Gold ’n Blues were able to work in a recording studio to record each voice individually, then compile them all together on their album.

The Naturals took a different approach, recording here on campus as a group.

“We decided to record live (all 10 parts singing and recording at once) instead of singing each part individually and putting them together in post-production,” Scannell said.

The recording process was a new experience for both groups, Campbell in particular citing it as a great one.

“Having a whole weekend dedicated to a cappella and getting to hang out with the best people — it’s just a lot of fun,” Campbell said.

The two results are CDs that will be available in late April or early May. The Gold ’n Blues’ CD is presently untitled, while the Naturals’ CD “Live from the Henke” pays homage to their main practice area, the Alumni Memorial Union’s Henke Lounge.

Though the two groups aren’t featured on each other’s CDs, they have worked together previously in concerts together and hope to perform a song together in the upcoming school year.

“We love that we are able to work together with them and still maintain two distinct styles and sounds,” Scannell said.

Until their CDs are released, however, both groups will be performing elsewhere across campus and preparing songs for next year.

The Gold ’n Blues will be working in preparation for their public performances at Relay for Life, the upcoming University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild luncheon and graduation. In addition, they hope to perform a concert in McCormick to honor the birthplace of their group, potentially may audition for “The Sing-Off” themselves and might even try working with the Spanish O’Donnells.

“The Spanish O’Donnells do a lot of the same stuff that we do, so we figured it would be cool to do a collaborative piece,” Campbell said.

The Naturals have been working with the organization “Dance Inc.,” and are planning to act as the background vocals for their upcoming performances, lending their voices to Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” while they dance. Scannell said the groups were also planning on some improvised shows.

“Keep an ear out around campus for our roaming performances (especially in dining halls),” Scannell said.