With four groups on campus, a cappella at UM is thriving. Above the Keys, BisCaydence, Tufaan and The 18th Notes are packed with incredible vocalists, all skilled enough to fill in for the instruments and accompaniment that a cappella does without. But while a cappella needs technical precision, it also requires a sense of fun. Fortunately, the four groups comprising Voices of UM are abundant with talent in both aspects.
Although all the groups are shaped by the style of a cappella performance, each has an individual niche which makes it unique. Tufaan focuses on Hindi-American fusion, while The 18th Notes, which is affiliated with Hillel, celebrates Jewish heritage through song. BisCaydence performs co-ed pop and Above the Keys is UM’s only all-male a cappella group.
The groups have kept busy with performances both on and off campus. When not traveling to competitions, BisCaydence has performed with the Vanderbilt Melodores and the FIU HeartBeats, and the group also held its third-annual Halloween BoosCaydence concert last year. Tufaan has performed for the Indian Student Association and at UM’s annual Scholarship Donor Luncheon. All four groups performed together at Patio Jams last semester, and they will come together one last time for a send-off concert in April.
Members of BisCaydence have a few exciting opportunities on the horizon.
“We are actually working on recording our first album this upcoming week, which is really exciting for us,” said Maura Gergerich, a fifth-year architecture major in her third year with BisCaydence. “We are also thrilled that we will be opening for Jay Leno in the Au Rene Theatre in Broward on April 6.”
On the a cappella circuit, Tufaan has competed in Dallas, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Boston, and the group’s first-place win at the University of Iowa’s Gathe Raho competition secured Tufaan’s spot in the All-American Awaz competition April 22 in New York. Above the Keys, The 18th Notes and BisCaydence all performed at the International Competition for Collegiate A Cappella quarterfinals in Gainesville, Florida, where BisCaydence placed second, earning a spot in the semifinal round in Athens, Georgia.
“It’s the big one from ‘Pitch Perfect,’” explained sophomore political science major and second-year member of BisCaydence Maia Mulcahy.
Although the groups take a cappella seriously, the members all spoke highly of the tight-knit friendships they had formed within the groups.
“By far my favorite part of being on this team is the family environment we’ve been able to cultivate,” said sophomore pre-med major and two-year Tufaan member Ramya Radhakrishnan, who is also a co-captain of the team. “At the end of the day, I get to perform, travel and make memories with 15 of my best friends, and that’s an experience I can’t imagine college without.”
“We all work really well together, and there’s nothing else that I’ve been a part of before that’s like it,” Mulcahy said. “Even though there are 21 members, it feels like each one of us contributes something unique to the group’s success. That sense of community can be hard to find, and I’m glad I found it.”
“The ability to perform with people you love who support each other is an amazing feeling,” Gergerich said.
For many of the members of UM’s a cappella groups, the experience has been life-changing.
“When I came to UM, I had absolutely no intention of joining an a cappella group and had to be coerced by a friend to audition,” Mulcahy said. “It’s funny to look back on how I got involved in it because I think that BisCaydence has been one of the defining parts of my college career so far.”
“A cappella is definitely a lot cooler than most people imagine,” Radhakrishnan said. “Definitely ‘like’ Voices of UM on Facebook to learn more about each group, and come to our End of the Year concert to hear us all perform our sets.”
To hear the Voices of UM come together live, head to the End of the Year Concert April 27 at 8:30 p.m at the Braman Miller Center (Hillel).
If you go:
Voices of UM End of Year Concert
8:30 p.m. April 27
Braman Miller Center, 1100 Stanford Drive