Because of its immense popularity last year, Hellacappella will now be held in the ARC Pavilion, which seats over 8,000 in contrast to Freeborn Hall’s seating capacity of about 1,300. The event, which will be held this Saturday, Feb. 4, is organized by The Spokes, UC Davis’s only all-female a cappella group, and will feature seven other groups from Northern California and one from out of state.
“It started in some classroom and it’s just built up and gotten bigger every year from there,” said Julie Athans, president and fourth-year communication and film studies major. “More people hear about it every year either from word of mouth or from publicity, which we do a lot of now. It started as more of a student event and then became more of a Davis community event and now we are kind of a Sacramento area community event.”
A cappella is a type of musical genre that is composed of just vocals and harmonies. According to Alexandra Sargent, a new member of The Spokes and first-year political science major, a cappella is a form of musical genre that allows for creative expression between individuals.
“I think a cappella is kind of a form of self expression and part of the instrumentation that would normally be going on in the background as accompaniment are voices so everyone gets to add their own flair. It’s just fun and exciting since it’s a collaboration of all these different sounds and voices and personalities that come through,” Sargent said.
This year, Hellacappella plans to attract many people with its lineup. The Spokes switchthe groups each year to introduce variety. Normally, only groups from Northern California are scheduled to perform. This year, however, The Spokes made an exception for On the Rocks, a group from the University of Oregon, who were featured on NBC’s The Sing Off two years ago in 2010.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Jeff Rogers, the On the Rocks booking manager. “We met some amazing groups who just had unreal talent and we felt very humble to be able to be a part of it and compete with groups of that caliber. The exposure it gave is just invaluable and we are so thankful. It’s great to be recognized for something that you put so much time into.”
A big part of the show for many of the groups is being able to see the other teams’ new material and what they have been working on. Each team specializes in particular vocal styles or dances which add variety to their performances.
“I am very excited to see the other groups perform,” said Emily Randall, co-music director for The Spokes and fourth-year Spanish and communication major. “It is a blast performing, but to see how hard the other a cappella groups have been working as well makes you humble and they are just a joy to watch. The community is truly amazing and so supportive; we all compliment each other on our performances, recognizing the amount of rehearsing that went into them.”
The UC Berkeley Men’s Octet has been an established group for about 64 years and has performed throughout the Bay Area and even internationally. They are regulars at Hellacappella.
“It’s going to be awesome. A cappella music is so much fun and it’s different from anything else and has so many different genres that there’s going to be something for everybody,” said Isaac Jackson, the Men’s Octet business manager.
Tickets are currently on sale at the Freeborn Hall ticket booth for $7 (students) and $10 (non-students). The lineup includes (in order of appearance): UC Berkeley Decadence, UC Santa Cruz Cloud, UC Berkeley Artists in Resonance, Stanford Fleet Street, UC Berkeley California Golden Overtones, UC Santa Cruz Acquire, UC Berkeley Men’s Octet, University of Oregon On the Rocks, and The Spokes.
As for what to expect from the show?
“Think of it this way: a few hours of incredible entertainment versus one drink that will only get you slightly tipsy in thrilling downtown Davis,” said Randall.
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