“It’s just like ‘Pitch Perfect’,” Chelsea Barreto laughed. “No, I guess they glamorized it a bit, but the competitions are pretty accurate.”
She speaks from experience. Barreto, a senior, started the campus a capella group this year, The Sea Sharps. The future marine biologist might not seem like the obvious choice for the captain of a singing based club, but Barreto has been singing since she was very young.
“I started singing when I was really little. I was probably like 4 or 5 in a children’s choir and I kept singing through high school and college.”
Naturally, she wanted to find a way to keep her hobby alive outside of the shower. In an off topic conversation with her thesis advisor, Dr. Daneshgar, Barreto learned that Dr. D would be willing to advise an a capella group.
Though starting a new club is a rather tedious process, The Sea Sharps went through all the motions to get their club up and running. They held auditions and did a lot of paperwork, and now they are watching their club grow. Barreto said, “The first semester we only had 6 people, now we have 14.”
Though the school has a glee club (The Harmonic Joules), Barreto said that a capella is different. “A capella is completely vocal. There are no instruments. We also don’t have that much choreography. Our choreography is mostly snaps and stuff like that,” the marine biology and environmental policy major said.
Conveniently, a capella is very popular right now, due partly to the popularity of the feature film “Pitch Perfect”. The film captures a fictional team’s journey to International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella (ICAA) tournament.
The Sea Sharps got to go on their own journey to ICAA Northeast at Rutgers earlier this year. They played a 12 minute set at ICAAs, but Barreto was extremely pleased with the outcome. “[We scored] 5.5, which is actually pretty good for a first-year a capella group, and we were really pleased, being newbies.”
Barreto is happy that she could bring together a group of girls like this. “We’re kind of a big family. We see each other three times a week. We have three hour rehearsals. We all get a long really well. I think it’s really important, especially in an a capella group, I think, because of the time commitment we ask for.”
Courtney Davis, a freshman member of the a capella group, has appreciated her experience. “I’ve gotten really close to everyone in the group, and I feel really involved on campus,” she said.
Davis also admires Barreto’s determination. “She balances a lot with her science major and tutoring [as a Supplemental Instruction Leader], but she is able to say pretty calm and come to almost every rehearsal. She’s awesome,” Davis said.
Lauren Saal, a sophomore Sea Sharps member, agreed with Davis. Saal said, “She’s very good at organizing things and getting everyone’s attention. I mean, we’re girls. We like to talk and mess around a lot, and she’s good at getting us to focus.”
The Sea Sharps will be having their final performance of the year on Saturday in Woods Theatre. They will have two male groups from SUNY and Drexel University accompanying them
Many a capella groups bring in guests from other schools to put on a show.
Barreto explained, “It’s an a capella thing. When you have an a capella concert, you bring in other groups and have a party afterwards. Dr. D, our advisor, has been in a lot of a capella groups through his undergraduate and graduate education, so he kind of advised us in that.”
Catch Barreto’s last performance before graduating on May 3 at 8 p.m. in Woods Theatre. Tickets will be available at the door for $3.