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Marquette Wire

Meladies prepare for first ICCA competition since 2020

Photo by Marquette Wire Stock Photo
The Meladies performed on Marquette Lately Sept. 29.

The Meladies have not competed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella competition since 2020 due to COVID-19. This being their first time back with an almost entirely new group they said that there are a lot of components and work that goes into putting their set for the competition together.  

The ICCA competition is Feb. 11 in Madison, WI and will feature A Cappella groups from Wisconsin and Minnesota, including all three A Cappella groups from Marquette University, Gold ‘n Blues, The Naturals and The Meladies. 

At Marquette University there is only one all-female A Cappella group, The Meladies. They were founded Dec. 8, 2012 when 12 girls had an idea to create their own all-female A Cappella group. 

A Cappella originated in Italy and means ‘in the manner of the chapel.’ Which means that there are no instruments or background music, all the music and singing come from the singer’s voice. 

Juliana Suarez, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said that The Meladies immediately grabbed her attention at O-Fest, and she immediately wanted to join and live out her “Pitch Perfect dreams.” 

“I think it’s unique because we do everything,” Suarez said. “We sing in ways that other groups with instruments can’t. Obviously playing an instrument is incredibly impressive and an equally beautiful form of music but in A Cappella, I’ve learned so much about my voice and my abilities as a singer and musician that I never would have learned had I just stayed in regular choir.”  

Michaela Brooke, a senior in the College of Health Sciences, said that she loves being a part of The Meladies.  

“What I love most about the Meladies is that we are more than just a singing group – we are best friends,” Brooke said. “Over our time as a group, we have developed a deep connection and an unbreakable bond.”   

Suarez said The Meladies group dynamic differs from the typical stereotypes surrounding groups of women. 

“I know the stereotype is that a group of only women is always full of drama and gossip and that none of us like each other but that could be further from the truth,” Suarez said. “Every day I feel so thankful to be a part of this group full of some of the kindest, funniest, most talented and beautiful women I’ve ever had the honor of singing with. These girls are my best friends and I love them dearly.”  

Lauren Nicklaus, a freshman in the College of Business Administration, said picking outfits is important but also a group thing that all the women participate in.   

“Choosing outfits is kind of a complicated process for us,” Nicklaus said. “First, we have an amazing visual director, Juliana Suarez, who decides the themes/color schemes of all of our concerts.” 

Nicklaus continues that once the color or theme is decided there are two different ways to figure out which outfits look best; one is to send pictures of different outfits to the visual director, another is to bring in clothes from their closet to rehearsal. 

“We all give our opinions on everything,” Nicklaus said. “It is very communicative and democratic along every step.”  

Kendall Bonifer, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, said that choreographing is usually done by Juliana Suarez, however the ICCA competition is such a big undertaking Bonifer helped out.

“The ICCA is the biggest project that I’ve worked on,” Bonifer said. “We met up many times over the course of a few weeks, focusing on one part of our set at a time.”

Choreographing typically takes Bonifer one to two hours per song, however the ICCA competition took weeks to complete.

“It’s all just a matter of trial and error,” Bonifer said. “There’s only so much we can do that will still preserve our sound quality. The biggest challenge is coming up with choreography that is both visually interesting but not too strenuous.”

29Being nervous before shows is common, Suarez said, but working through the nerves is a group thing.   

“As a group we work through the nerves by giving pep talks and reminding each other why we’re doing this and how hard we’ve worked,” Suarez said. “Before going on stage, we always put our hands in the middle of a circle and do our “Mels for Days” chant to hype us up.”  

The Meladies are continuing to prepare for the ICCA competition, but also their upcoming spring concert in late April or early May. Additional information can be found on their social media @mumeladies.

This story is written by Aiyona Calvin. She can be reached at [email protected].

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