Kenyon Kults: A Cappella

Aca-don't even get me started. (via

Aca-don’t even get me started. (via

The Kokes, the Creeks, the Chasers, Take Five, the Ransom Notes, the Stairwells, the Cornerstones, Colla Voce — all student-run groups capable of filling Rosse Hall quicker than you can say “aca-scuse me.” But what secrets lie inside those 10:15 p.m. rehearsals? Do “mash-ups” exist in the real world? What in the heck is the music lab? To answer some of your most burning aca-questions, I’m going to compare Kenyon’s a cappella scene with that mess of an aca-movie we all hate to admit we’ve seen a jillion times: Pitch Perfect. In addition to being incredibly contrived and emotionally vacant, this movie perpetuates some pretty horrible stereotypes about a cappella. I’m here to bust those lies up with some cold, hard facts. Get ready.

Myth #1: Everyone’s super competitive and bitchy. The whole reason a cappella seems so “kult-ish” here is because we’re tight-knit. I’ve met some of my best friends here through a cappella, both inside and outside my personal group. We support one another one hundred percent. No group is trying to outdo any other with laser light shows and professional-level choreography.

Myth #2: Your a cappella group is your life. Though a cappella has definitely been a big part of my “Kenyon Experience,” I’ve had time to actually do classwork and eat and sleep and stuff. Hollywood chose to gloss over those parts of Anna Kendrick’s college days.

Myth #3: Whatever the hell that “Riff-Off” was. In one scene, Anna Kendrick’s band of musical misfits engages in some sort of weird singing battle thing with several other a cappella groups. It’s completely spur-of-the-moment; everyone shows off their own personal brand of sass while harmonizing perfectly. In reality, this could never, ever, EVER happen. The music sung in Kenyon’s a cappella groups is painstakingly transcribed and arranged by one or more members of the group. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to get an arrangement exactly right. Afterwards comes week after week of rehearsal until finally, the piece comes together. Consider those lip-syncing Barbie dolls in Pitch Perfect “cut-off.”

Myth #4: We’re all just trying to get to regionals. Yes, the Ransom Notes did go to ICCAs this year, but no other group is trying to get farther in a competition. Shut up, Glee.

Myth #5: A cappella groups have all sorts of weird rituals. Kenyon a cappella has exactly zero secrets. We’re all crystal clear about what goes on in rehearsals. No one has anything to hide. Ever. Please leave now.

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