The temperatures may be cooling down, but the Springfield College a Capella choirs, the Pride Pitches and Maroon XIII, are just heating up.
Both groups are preparing for their annual holiday concert, which will take place in the Union this Friday at 7 P.M. Jasmine Jiles and Kevin Nowak, the choirs’ two directors, are equally excited for the upcoming event.
Jiles, a junior, has been part of the a Capella choir group since the second semester of her freshman year. After stepping up to become the assistant director her sophomore year, she was promoted to director this year. Jiles is looking to add some of her theatrical talents to the upcoming show. She said that the Pitches, an all-female group, are planning to include songs that empower women in their set list this year, along with some holiday classics.
“We don’t always do songs by women,” Jiles said, “but I think the main thing for us is kind of that we’re redeveloping ourselves. We want to add choreography into the mix, and we’re trying to make sure we’re smiling more and dancing and getting the audience hyped up on what we’re doing. We really want to bring it to a new performance level.”
The Pride Pitches will share the stage with Maroon XIII, the college’s co-ed a Capella group, when they perform carols. Although the XIII in the group’s name represents the choir’s 13 original members, senior Kevin Nowak says this year’s number of singers has grown to 16.
Nowak, a psychology major who is looking to do adventure therapy, has been a part of Maroon XIII since he was a freshman. Now, he looks to lead the singers as director, a position that requires him to make a lot of decisions about how the group will sound. He is quick, however, to give credit to his peers.
“I teach the group music and parts by listening to the music,” Nowak said. “I would never be able to do this without my group, so it really is not just me. Everyone plays an active role in creating and learning our parts.”
Both groups practice at least twice a week. Jiles said her crew has also added Saturdays to their practice schedule as a way to take the pressure off preparing for the concert and to focus more on fun.
“We’ll focus on having more fun with everything,” Jiles said. “I’ll try to do creative exercises to try to get us to be more lively on stage, and I’ll try to teach choreography.”
While both directors said that their choirs are looking to add a little flare to their performance, nothing is more important than sounding good.
“There are some new voices in our group that really add to the sound,” Nowak said.
When they take the stage on Friday evening, Jiles said the singers are hoping to bring a lot to their audience, including plenty of soul, energy, and talent—and maybe even a little sass.
“We are excited to show everyone what we have been working on,” Nowak said, “and are sure you will enjoy it!”
Alanna Grady can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org