So you’ve seen “Pitch Perfect” and think you know all you need to about all-female a capella? The Enchantments beg to differ.
On Sunday, the group celebrated its 10th anniversary the way they know best — by singing. But the group’s members are harmonious in more ways than one. Friendship is central for The Enchantments.
“Everyone is a family. We don’t ever have members who are on the outskirts,” said Katie Makowski, a strategic communications senior.
This may not be the image most people would have of an all-female a capella group, however.
“We pride ourselves on breaking traditional female a capella stereotypes — whether they’re performance based or personality based. We’re not catty. We don’t pick fights,” Makowski said.
As for the myth about a capella singers constantly singing and harmonizing? It’s partially true.
“Some people think of a capella as Andy from “The Office,” where he just walks around singing. Part of that stereotype is founded on truth,” said Danni Askew, a University alumna and former Enchantments member. “We love it, so it does weave its way into our lives. But we try to keep it to ourselves and not annoy the general public.”
The collegiate a capella world does bear some similarities to “Pitch Perfect.”
“I’d say like 80 percent is similar. All of the details when they talk about different voice parts and personalities and who holds the pitch pipes, the big competitions — those are real,” Askew said. “There’s always stress and conflict that can happen in a group, but the way they handle it in the movie is very different than how we handle it.”
Though some critique the strength of all female a capella arrangements, The Enchantments work to find pieces that don’t restrict members to a single vocal part.
“Our music director can sing bass but also has the highest range in the group,” Makowski said. “We pride ourselves on getting arrangements that take us to the end of our ranges.”
The Enchantments have built their success on a combination of hard work, talent and strong friendships.
“Being part of a small group teaches you a lot about team work, working with people who have different personalities and about different ways of managing stress,” Askew said. “We did a festival the fall of my junior year. Experts in the field said they saw a lot of potential in us because we were down to earth and knew who we were.”
Even though the group has been around for ten years, this is the first year that The Enchantments will travel to the Carsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Capella, the nationwide a capella competition much like the one shown in “Pitch Perfect.”
“We’ve made a really big incline in talent, skill level and credibility,” Makowski said.