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Auditions 101: Insights from First-Year Greeners - Unveiling the Journey

Navigating the audition process for an a cappella group can be quite intimidating. However, there's no better source of wisdom than those who have recently triumphed in auditions themselves. In this article, we present the remarkable audition experiences of Deni and Gracie, two first-year Greeners who have successfully embarked on this exciting journey. Their unique insights will provide valuable guidance and inspiration as you prepare for your own audition. Let's delve into their stories and discover the secrets to conquering auditions with confidence!


What kind of music experience have you had in your life prior to college?


Deni: “I've been singing in my school choir since sixth grade. I started musical theater in my eighth grade year, and I went all the way to senior year doing it. There's also a 20-person singers group in my high school and I did that my sophomore through senior year.”


Gracie: “I have loved music and singing for as long as I can remember. I joined my elementary school choir in fifth grade and have been involved ever since. In high school, I earned a spot in multiple honors choirs and took private voice lessons for three years. My junior and senior year, I was selected to perform at district and all state choral festivals in Illinois, my home state!”


When did you know you wanted to audition for a cappella in college?


Deni: “I didn't know about a cappella until my friend Harrison told me about it. I missed singing, and my favorite pieces to sing at high school were definitely a cappella. So I thought, why not? It would be a good way to make friends and sing. [At one point, Harrison said] ‘Hey, I'm trying for Capital Green and I saw your name. Let's do it together.’ I was like, ‘okay I forgot what Capital Green was, but I'm down. Let's do it’.”


Gracie: “If music wasn’t going to be my major, I knew I had to keep it in my life. I had been a part of my high school a cappella group for two years, it was something I really loved and wanted to pursue in college! I researched Michigan State's a cappella scene, and if I’m being honest, it’s one of the main reasons I committed to the school. Something about the groups at MSU just stood out to me unlike any other school I applied to.”


Bring me back to your first audition day. What was that like? Were you auditioning for other groups?


Deni: “Okay, so my first audition day was a little scary. Capital Green was the only group I tried out for. You basically sing for strangers in a classroom, and they love you no matter what, which is really sweet. But, yeah, a little nervy. The callbacks were a little nervy but now I can’t believe I know you guys. It’s really weird.”


Gracie: “My first audition day goes down as one of the most nerve-racking days of my life, but don’t let that scare you away! Since learning of the a cappella scene on campus, I could not see my freshman year without it, however dramatic that may sound. I auditioned for three groups on campus: Capital Green, State of Fifths, and Ladies First. My top choices were the co-ed groups, only because that is what I was used to from high school and I really wanted to compete. It was something new and exciting that I had always wanted to try.”


How did you select your audition song?


Deni: “I thought of the song that I felt like I got the most positive feedback for when I have performed it in front of other people. I picked a safe option and could get me through the first round and then for the second round, I could show off the other part of my range. I really just sang the safe song that I felt like a lot of people thought I sang well.”


Gracie: “My audition song was “All I Ask” by Adele. I chose my song over the summer, actually. Yes, that is how badly I wanted to be in a group. It’s okay, you can laugh. I have always loved Adele, and as a belty alto, a lot of her songs work extremely well for my voice. Although “All I Ask” can be seen as a basic choice, it was the best choice for me. Funny enough, two of the newbies from this year, Audrey Allen and I, sang “All I Ask”, and look at us now! So, if I learned anything, don’t shy away from so-called ‘basic’ songs – if you sound good singing it, that’s all that matters!”


What advice do you have for people considering auditioning for MSU A Cappella?


Deni: “Try out for all the groups. Don't make up a new persona in your auditions because that's not like who they want. And if they do want that, you're gonna stick with that persona for a while.”


Gracie: “​​DO IT!!! Getting involved in college is so important and auditioning for MSU a capella is one of the best decisions I have ever made. In making the group as a freshman, I instantly gained 15 best friends. I found people that I now consider my second family and I became a part of something so special. If you love to sing and have fun, don’t think twice about auditioning!”


What makes CG different from the other groups on campus?


Deni: “The first answer that went to my head is the bond that we all have, and just what we share as a group. But I mean, I'm sure other groups have that, but we see each other six hours a week and we still want to hang out twice every weekend. And it's great because it's such a diverse group of people with different majors and different interests, but we all share one common interest. It’s a great way to make friends because there's so many people.”


Gracie: “CG is so special in so many ways. If there’s one thing that makes us different from the other groups, it’s how close we are. Like I said before, we are a family. Every bad day I had this year was brightened by a CG rehearsal or by someone texting something funny in our group chat. I rarely get sick of spending time with the people in this group and I love each and every one of them with my whole heart. We would all drop everything to be there for each other and a bond like that is not easy to find. When you’re a Greener, you’re a Greener for life, and none of us would have it any other way.”


How has CG shaped your first year in college?


Gracie: “CG changed the way I looked at MSU. As an out-of-state student, I only knew a handful of people at the school before I moved in. I was incredibly lonely in my first few weeks on campus – To all you incoming freshmen reading this, that is the most normal feeling in the world, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! However, when I found out I made CG, that all changed. It was an instant feeling of relief knowing that no matter what, I would have a group of incredible people to count on for the next four years. After the tragedy of February 13th, 2023, it became even more apparent that CG is my true Michigan family. We made it through that terrible night because we had each other to lean on, literally and figuratively. I experienced so many firsts by being in this group: First retreat, first competition, first album (coming soon), first music video (also, coming soon), and there isn’t another group of people I would’ve wanted by my side. Saying goodbye after my first year on campus was incredibly difficult, and that is because of my experience with CG and the love I have for them!”


Is there any other information you think a prospective member should know about the audition process or our group in general?


Gracie: “You may be wondering what all of this talk about competing is! Allow me to explain, CG is one of three – sometimes four, depending on the year – competitive groups on MSU’s campus. This means that throughout the year, mainly second semester, we rehearse and prepare for the Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Put simply, ICCA’s, the competition from Pitch Perfect. This year, we placed second at our Quarterfinal and had the privilege of traveling to Milwaukee for our Semifinal! It is an experience like no other and teaches you so much about the art of a capella and your individual performance skills. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, I highly recommend auditioning! It is a super low pressure and enjoyable process. All you have to do is sing a song that shows off your voice and tell us a bit about who you are. Hit the “Auditions” blurb up top to fill out an interest form for the fall, we would love to hear you!”


Conclusion

We've explored the firsthand experiences of Deni and Gracie, two first-year Greeners who have bravely navigated the audition process. Their testimonies offer invaluable insights, proving that with determination and passion, success is within reach.


As you embark on your own audition journey, remember to embrace your unique talents and showcase your authentic self. Stay true to your love for music and believe in your abilities. Whether you're a seasoned performer or new to the world of a cappella, know that Capital Green welcomes all with open arms.


Auditions are not just about finding the perfect fit for the group; they're also about discovering the perfect fit for you. Let the experience of auditioning be an opportunity for personal growth, as you build lasting connections with like-minded individuals and explore the magic of music together.


So, take a deep breath, step into that audition room with confidence, and let your passion for singing shine. The journey of becoming a Greener is waiting for you, filled with harmonies, friendship, and unforgettable moments. We can't wait to witness the magic you bring to our family. Best of luck, and may your audition be a resounding success!


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