May 19, 2023 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | By Brett LeVan

Singing auditions can be terrifying, with groups often meeting their auditioners with selective ears and serious complexions.

At the heart of The A Capella Rejects are two co-chairs and a club member, whose singing experiences at Colorado College are helping shape a unique new club that accepts all the rejects of other a cappella groups as well as anyone who just wants to sing.

Toya Ora, a senior psychology major, is at the forefront of establishing The A Capella Rejects. Her ideas and visions are evident when talking about the importance of club members singing, learning, and supporting one another to become comfortable singers without the pressure of having to be perfect during an audition.

“This club could be a bridge for people to feel more confident in their singing abilities,” Ora said, noting the club’s uplifting and pressure-free environment, affording people the opportunity to learn new skills that not many are otherwise privy to outside of the a cappella experience.

Ora emphasizes the importance of ensuring students of all singing backgrounds feel welcome to be a part of an intimate, relaxed, and fun singing atmosphere. She acknowledges that voice lessons aren’t always accessible for everybody. Yet this shouldn’t be a barrier for people who want to learn to sing and become part of a group.

Jackson Kaib ’23 grew up participating in musical theatre and has auditioned for a cappella groups in the past.

“I just remember from that a cappella experience, leaving feeling as though I had done the best that I could and earnestly expressed the desire to get better, but that expression was met with deaf ears,” he said. 

In many a cappella auditions, auditioners are asked to match a pitch with a tap of a piano key which can be challenging for someone who has never had voice lessons. However, The A Cappella Rejects hope to encourage singers to bring songs that they know well and enjoy singing instead. 

When talking about other a cappella auditions, Kaib said, “I found that standing in front of a room of people as someone that has not had voice lessons to be discomforting because you don’t really have feedback on how to improve.”

When participating in choir groups prior to college, Ora felt she could match the tone of other sopranos around her well. However, singing alone in an audition can be a very unfamiliar and slightly intimidating experience for people. 

The fun and joy of a cappella is often removed when auditions are stressful and competitive. That’s why The A Cappella Rejects are focused on learning skills through collaboration, so everyone feels welcome to share their passion of singing. While Ora envisions the club having performances, there will not be a requirement for everyone to perform. Again, the emphasis on having a group that is bolstering and supportive of each individual member is exactly what Ora hopes will come from The A Cappella Rejects.

A member of The A Cappella Rejects, Gabi Hart ’23, a sociology major, wants this club, especially for future members, to be “a place to sing for fun, to sing without pressure, to sing without it having to be up to a certain standard, and also have the freedom to choose what you want to sing.” The club would be a “singing in the shower” kind of a cappella group, a group founded in singing with no serious pressure – just pure passion where nobody will be cut.

Shared experiences are foundational to The A Cappella Rejects. Ora said, “the leaders themselves having experiences that weren’t the best or very pleasant is also very inspiring” because everyone will be on the same level. The co-chairs agree that nobody will be auditioning for someone else or against someone else; The A Cappella Rejects are one cohesive group.

Everyone deserves a place to have their red solo cup song like Beca (Anna Kendrick) has in “Pitch Perfect,” this is exactly what The A Cappella Rejects are trying to be for students at Colorado College.

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