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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

HellaCappella Preview

Get Hella Spoked

The first Friday of spring quarter is always exciting because school has yet to pick up, so everyone comes together to celebrate the last (and arguably best) quarter of the year. This Friday, April 5 at 7 p.m. is HellaCappella. HellaCappella is the premier a cappella showcase on the West Coast and is hosted and organized every year by the Spokes, a UC Davis female a cappella group. For those looking for something to kick off their quarter, this show adds a whole new dimension to the activities available on Friday night.

This year is the fifteenth annual HellaCappella Showcase and will host six a cappella groups from University of Oregon, The Claremont Colleges, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and, of course, UC Davis. In addition to organizing and hosting the show, the Spokes themselves will be performing. Beyond a cappella, the show will be emceed by the women of Birdstrike Theatre, UC Davis’ premier improv group.

Sarah Kadlec, a third-year American studies and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies double major and co-president of the Spokes, explained the hard work the Spokes put into this showcase and the excitement of the approaching show.

“My favorite part of HellaCappella is getting to share what we’ve been working on all year with our friends and family that come to the show,” Kadlec said. “This year’s HellaCappella is special because it’s the first time in a really long time that the original members of the group will be coming. We have a lot of alumni coming to the show from several different graduating classes, so it is going to be such a cool moment to see us all come together as Spokes […] the two Spokes founders Jaclyn Fromer-Cohen and Camaron Ochs created the group because they felt like there should be an all female a cappella group on campus so the Spokes were born.”

Camaron Ochs, known professionally as Cam, is now a Grammy-nominated country recording artist and songwriter.

The founding of both the Spokes and HellaCappella occurred in 2004 and since then has only grown in popularity and production as the Spokes work all year to organize and put the showcase on.

The Spokes’ website explains “just as a bicycle wheel relies on the support of all of its spokes, this group depends on the dedication of every member to achieve their goals.” Just as the Spokes themselves work hard to create a support system within their group, they foster one throughout the entire acapella community by inviting and hosting so many other groups to perform.

“The Spokes may be the all-female a cappella group at Davis, but it’s also a sisterhood of strong, independant, intelligent, and kind women who have bonded through their love of music,” said Tanya Kameswaran, a fourth-year psychology and communications double major and President of the Spokes.

Fourth-year history and psychology double major Josie Kamida, who has been to HellaCappella every year since enrolling at UC Davis, explained that her love for the show surrounds seeing the different styles of every group.

“This year I’m really excited because I always really like the Spokes’ arrangements and style,” Kamida said. “The former high school choir nerd in me loves seeing a cappella, and also the other groups [are] really cool, because I get to see all of the the talent at other schools, and see the different styles too. If you haven’t been before it’s like real life ‘Pitch Perfect’ and I would really recommend it to everyone no matter what your musical background is.”

For those who have not been to HellaCapella, this year’s show will not disappoint. The show will be held in Jackson Hall of the UC Davis Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. It is a huge accomplishment for a student group to organize and arrange a show to be performed at the Mondavi Center, which seats over 1,800 people, and each year the Spokes’ commitment and passion to creating a successful a cappella showcase is met with a full audience at the Mondavi Center.

Kameswaran explained how special this year’s performance is.

“The show is a culmination of all the hard work we’ve put in throughout the year and offers us a platform to show both our individual growth and our growth as a group,” Kameswaran said. “This year we’ve really harnessed all of our unique music tastes and musical backgrounds to create a diverse and dynamic sound. Fifteen years is a huge milestone to celebrate so we’re so thankful to have this opportunity to share our music with the Davis community.”

An added excitement surrounding HellaCappella is the Spokes’ choice of emcees, because the ladies of Birdstrike get a chance to emcee the show.

Hayley Chung, a fourth-year landscape architect major and member of Birdstrike, will be emceeing HellaCappella for her third time.

“It’s always super fun, a lot of energy, and a great audience,” said Chung. “There are a lot of cool and talented groups that we get to see and meeting all of the different people from different schools and bonding with the Birdstrike femmes is my favorite thing.”

Within Davis, there are so many amazing and talented student-run groups, and beyond being one of them, the Spokes work hard to create a community and bring together women, art and performance.

HellaCappella is an incredible show, and the work and energy that the Spokes put into it is reflected in how professional and smooth it always is. It is an enjoyable and memorable time for not only those who perform in it but also for those who attend.

Those in attendance can look forward to the Spokes performing some pop numbers as well as alternative music, a couple really powerful songs and some fun throwback songs.

Tickets are $21 for students and children and $35 general admission at the door. They can be purchased beforehand or online for a reduced price. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Written By: Rosie Schwarz — arts@theaggie.org


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