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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

HellaCappella moves to Mondavi

The Spokes’ annual a cappella showcase HellaCappella will take place Friday at Jackson Hall in the Mondavi Center for the first time since its creation in 2004. HellaCappella has been a staple of the Davis music scene every Winter Quarter and has traditionally been held in Freeborn Hall. This year, The Spokes aim to fill a larger venue despite the consequential significant rise in ticket prices and relocation of the event to the outskirts of campus.

“The Spokes strive to make each annual HellaCappella bigger and better than the last,” said Camille Martinez, a fourth-year communication and human development double major and publicity director for The Spokes. “We sell out more and more tickets every year, and that was ultimately why we needed to change venues.”

To meet this growing demand, HellaCappella was moved last year from Freeborn Hall to the much larger ARC Pavilion. Ultimately, the switch proved to be more problematic than productive.

“The transition between Freeborn and the ARC Pavilion was honestly a rough one. There were a lot of things come day of the show with acoustics, lighting and general production quality that we didn’t consider,” Martinez said.

Despite the issues, the show managed to fill 2,000 seats, prompting the decision to transfer yet again to an even bigger and more professional venue.

“We wanted to really step up our game this year, so we made the decision to move HellaCappella to the beautiful, state-of-the-art Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts,” said Emily Korwin, a fourth-year human development major and Spokes president. “Not only are the acoustics in the center perfect for a cappella music, but the thrill of performing on the same stage as greats such as Yo-Yo Ma, Florence + The Machine and The Shins pushed us to work extra hard to book the center.”

Plans to move the show out of The Pavilion began early last March and continued throughout the summer. This year’s lineup includes UC Davis’ The Liquid Hotplates, UC Berkeley Men’s Octet, the Golden Overtones, DeCadence and Dil Se, UCSC’s Cloud 9 and University of Oregon’s On the Rocks. The Davis improvisational troupe, Birdstrike Comedy Theater, will emcee the evening. The Hotplates are the only other Davis group invited to perform at HellaCappella.

“Usually, HellaCappella is such a big show in terms of guest performers that UC Davis groups are not invited because of time constraints for the show,” said Jaimie Wu, a third-year exercise biology major and member of the Hotplates. “The last time The Hotplates performed at HellaCappella was 2011, when the show was at Freeborn Hall.”

The Hotplates were selected due to their previous relationship with The Spokes.

“We were invited to perform in the past because our group had a relationship with Spokes — one of our alumni was in both The Spokes and The Liquid Hotplates,” Wu said. “This year, The Spokes were looking for a little more UC Davis representation, and we were beyond excited to accept their invitation.”

The Hotplates share the same optimism as The Spokes when it comes to the change in venue.

“I’m ecstatic to perform at Jackson Hall; it’s a phenomenal venue. I think whatever increase in ticket price is justified in order to support such a large and nice venue,” Wu said.

The Spokes are confident that they will maintain a high level of audience turnout despite the increase in ticket prices at the door to $15 general admission and $12 for students. In 2012, general admission at the door was $10 with student tickets at the door priced at $9.

“We increased ticket prices to cover the additional costs of hosting the show in the Mondavi Center, but still tried to keep them at a low price for students and the general public alike,” Korwin said. “We hope that our fans and the Sacramento community will continue to show their support. We are working hard to provide our audience with a fantastic show at a reasonable price.”

Wu recognizes the work involved in the production of such an event, having played a key role in the planning of The Liquid Hotplates’ annual show AllottaCapella, which sold out Sciences Lecture Hall 123 last December.

“I know hosting a show can be very difficult, and I applaud The Spokes for being able to go to the Mondavi,” Wu said. “After having turned away people from a sold-out AlottaCappella, we are contemplating expanding the show, though renting a larger venue is definitely a risk.”

As with every show, a portion of the proceeds from HellaCappella will go to a nonprofit organization. Last year, the event generated over $3,000 for the American Cancer Society; this year The Spokes aim to see similar success for Teach For America.

According to Korwin, the profit generated from the previous HellaCappella was enough to book the prestigious and expensive Jackson Hall. Corwin hopes the turnout from this year will garner enough revenue to maintain the new venue choice in the future.

“We hope to hold HellaCappella in the Mondavi Center again in the future, but it really depends on the profit we make from this year’s show,” Korwin said.

HellaCappella will take place Friday at 7:30 p.m, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door or on the Mondavi website at mondaviarts.org/events.

ADAM KHAN and ELIZABETH ORPINA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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