Acatoberfest returns with high anticipation

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The Meladies , one of three a capella groups on campus, join The Naturals and the Gold N’ Blues for Acatoberfest (Photo courtesy of Erin Pauly)

Rachel Kubik, A&E Reporter

Have you ever wanted to see what it’s like to be on the set of “Pitch Perfect?”

On Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. the Varsity Theatre will hold a showcase featuring a capella groups from Marquette and other universities such as Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

It is the biggest musical event during Family Weekend and tickets are currently sold out for parents. Marquette Students get in for free with a student ID.  

The Meladies, Marquette’s all-female a capella group, is gearing up for their performance. Founded in 2012, the group is still improving on as many levels as possible, such as their singing techniques, their presence on campus and the opportunity to compete. The group rehearses in two-hour sessions, three times a week.

While the group has not been in competition before, it is a goal of theirs.

“Whether it’s going to be this year (that we compete) or not, I don’t know,” Nicki Dower, secretary of the Meladies, one of the founding members and a senior in the College of Education, said. “Honestly, I hope before I leave we can at least try and see how far we can make it. Even if we’d make it past the first round, it’d be great experience.”

She feels the Mels are still labeled as the new group on campus and it is difficult to get rid of that label.

“My big goal is that I really want us to hold ourselves and feel as good about ourselves as the other groups,” Dower said. “We’re on a similar playing field and we’ve gotten really good over the past few years. (However), last year was intimidating.”

“Something that’s different about a capella is that it’s not just a solo line and a harmony,” Kara Sandquist, president of the Meladies and a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

“Each part completes (the other).” She is an alto two singer. “Bringing (all the parts) together is what makes a capella awesome,” Sandquist said.

She’s most excited about getting to know other people involved in a cappella ensembles, and hearing the different sound they make.

Erin Pauly, vice president of the Meladies and sophomore in the College of Business Administration, just joined the Meladies last semester. “I’ve never even seen (Acatoberfest),” Pauly said. “I don’t know what to expect.”

However, being in the Mels is a fun experience for her. “It’s your escape from all the stress of school and any drama you have with friends,” Pauly said. “Being able to do what I love with great girls is everything.”

The Naturals, Marquette’s all-male a capella group since 2003, hopes to achieve similar goals with Acatoberfest. Last year, the Naturals went to the ICCA for the first time, which is the same a capella competition in the movie “Pitch Perfect,” filled with groups from around the world. The group made it to the second round.

“I want (Acatoberfest) to be even bigger and better than last year,” Nick Clerkin, president of the Naturals and a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. “I want to have an awesome event that makes people really look at a capella and say, ‘This is cool.’”

Clerkin believes a capella is something that can stand on its own. “It’s something that’s really special,” Clerkin said. He especially enjoys the feeling of going on stage and hearing the audience erupt in cheers and excitement before a performance. “That’s an amazing moment for me,” Clerkin said.

Brad Morgen, treasurer and social events coordinator of the Naturals and a senior in the College of Business Administration, is looking forward to “performing (at Acatoberfest) and being able to bring what we practice so hard on to other people in the Milwaukee and Marquette community.”

Just like the Meladies, the Naturals practice three times a week for about two hours. “We’re expecting a really great turn out this year.”
The group from UW-Madison, Fundamentally Sound, performed with the Naturals at the ICCAs last year. “We’re inviting (other groups) here to show that there’s more a capella groups around and they’re just as good or even better (as Marquette’s groups),” David Hahne, senior in the College of Communication and bass singer in the Naturals, said.

He wants to showcase the Naturals’ best potential. “We want to be on the same level as (other competitive groups),” Hahne said.

The last a capella group on campus, the Gold ‘n Blues, made up of males and females, is also ecstatic for their performance. Emily Jindra, vice president of the Gold ‘n Blues and a junior in the College of Health Sciences, said she is excited about getting to know the other non-Marquette a capella groups.

“We have a pizza dinner beforehand, then we have our concert and then we hang out afterwards. It’s really cool to mingle with the other groups and see what they have going on. We’ve made really good friends with some of the groups and have even done (concert) exchanges at their schools,” Jindra said.

Nicole Rizzo, a public relations manager and an alto two singer in the Gold ‘n Blues, and a junior in the College of Communication, said she’s really excited to perform the piece “Like I Can” by Sam Smith. “It’s very choral,” Rizzo said.

“Acatoberfest is the only show where we have our own individual mics,” Rizzo said. “It sounds so good and a lot fuller, more professional. It’s really cool. If you’re looking to go to any a capella show this year, go to this one.”