Culture / The Saint

Taking the stage: Aquinas’ newest RSO

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Story by Anna Schlutt, Reporter
Photos courtesy of Anna Schlutt

If you’ve just been watching “Pitch Perfect 3” and realizing something’s missing in your life, four Aquinas students may have found an answer for you. In the words of this club’s founders, “We’re bringing acapella back, pitches!”

Take Note, the new AQ acapella group, is led by Fatima Bawah, Josie Gonzalez, Pam Connolly, and Molly Beausir. The four got together at the beginning of the semester, appalled that Aquinas didn’t already have an established acapella group. Their goal is “bringing new life to the music scene of Aquinas College,” and this certainly seems doable when you get the chance to see the club rehearsing and performing in person.

The first thing you notice walking into a Take Note rehearsal is how relaxed it is: students kicking back in plastic chairs, dressed in everything from sweatpants to ties and button-downs. The playful banter is ceaseless, but this up-and-coming club doesn’t give the impression of lax or sloppy performance. Its members are clearly just comfortable with one another. Any belief that these students are here to play around is instantly dashed when they begin to sing.

On the day I visited, the group was rehearsing two previously learned songs and getting new music for another. The highest tension of the hour occurred during a brief but violent struggle between club member Sam Verburg and a hole puncher. The group clearly got along well, each personality and voice vital to the chemistry of the music. Though the songs are directed by the club’s E-board, input is always welcome from all participants.

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Pictured: AQ Take Note members Josh Strzelewicz, Lauren Heyboer, Erin Dwan, and Kaeleb Cogswell

Take Note is entirely student-led and directed. Pam Connolly plucks out notes on the piano as Fatima Bawah stands in front and teaches individual parts. They choose their songs through a collaborative running list of hundreds of pieces chosen by club members. If they can find arrangements for these songs, they decide as a group which ones they would be interested in singing. Fatima then leads the group section by section, “slowly combining everyone to create one beautiful voice.”

This group hopes to establish a foundation for future growth, though they only plan to do a few quick performances this year. As the club is led solely by first years, they have plenty of time and potential to truly make an impact on campus. Next year, they hope to be regarded as a more established club, and to perform more often as entertainment in collaboration with other Student Organizations. However, they’ve already made both a beginning and a name for themselves during a short public performance.

Take Note was invited to participate in a karaoke event at the Moose on March 26th. Though acapella is practically the opposite of karaoke, the difference of style was a welcome contrast rather than an ill-fitting interruption. The group’s members arrived in all black, save their assorted brightly colored shoes. They crowded in a semicircle onstage and performed with as much energy and calm as they had in practice. After a rousing rendition of “Waiting On The World To Change” and a huge round of whoops and applause, the singers took their seats, clearly satisfied at having an opportunity to perform for a new crowd.

The Take Note E-Board is no longer holding auditions this semester, but they would certainly welcome some new blood for next year. In the meantime, keep up with the club by following @AQTakeNote on Facebook or Twitter, and take the opportunity to attend their #TBT concert on April 26 at 10:00pm. It’ll be a mix of songs from every recent decade, and it promises to be an incredible display of energy and talent. So if you’re interested in acapella, music, or any kind of performance, head to this concert to see Take Note take the stage.

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