This article appeared on Michigan State's Residential College in the Arts and Humanities News & Events page. Read the original post here.
The end of exam season wasn't the only reason to celebrate the conclusion of this past fall semester. It also marked the release of a year-long musical project that represents Spartan strength, created in the wake of the tragedy at Michigan State University one year ago.
Capital Green is Michigan State University’s oldest all-gender a cappella group, co-led by Maren Case, a senior in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH). The group’s newly finished EP, Vitality, and the accompanying music video were released on December 15, 2023. Since that time, the digital releases have been gaining impressive traction.
And so has Capital Green.
The pioneer of MSU’s all-gender a cappella groups recently won the Great Lakes Region Quarterfinal of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) and won all four special awards–the first ICCA group to sweep first place and all the awards since 2007. They will be advancing to the semifinals in Milwaukee in March.
“This year has been unbelievable!” said Maggie Heil, a senior Communication Leadership and Strategy major who serves as co-president of Capital Green with Case. “Knowing that we stand among the select few groups to achieve such success at this very well-known national competition is nothing short of surreal.” Heil said that the outpouring of public support has motivated Capital Green members to continue pushing their creative limits.
“I am genuinely so touched by all of the love we’ve received and proud of this incredible group of hard-working individuals,” she added.
Capital Green spent months in RCAH’s recording studio capturing their sound and enjoying music’s innately mysterious power to bring people together, according to Case and Heil. After mixing and mastering the tracks themselves, the group enlisted a Chicago-based sound engineer who helped release their seventh studio work into the world.
Vitality is composed of five tracks of pure a cappella singing, just like it’s portrayed in the pop culture classic Pitch Perfect. It’s a style of singing that consists of only human voices and doesn’t rely on instrumental accompaniment. Though it sounds old-school, Capital Green finds great joy in these moments spent together.
“It’s really amazing to create such moving and fun pieces with these other singers,” Case exhorted. “Not only have they become some of the closest friends I’ve ever had, but we make such wonderful music together, too.
“I’m constantly astounded and thankful that I have found such a rare intersection,” she added.
Though the EP and the music video were joyful projects for the group, they emerged from a difficult spring 2023 semester that required looking to one another to find a new kind of harmony.
“We were in the throes of rehearsal when our college community was irreversibly affected by the tragedy of last February,” Case reflects. “I’m very grateful that we had each other to lean on, and that our music could help us heal.”
Capital Green dedicated themselves to taking a step forward by using RCAH’s state-of-the-art studio in Snyder-Phillips Hall on campus. They recorded a selection of songs aimed at uniting the mourning community through music. The EP consists of music from artists such as Mariana’s Trench, Justin Timberlake, and Charlie Puth, as well as a cover of a song by the successful University of Chicago a cappella group Voices in Your Head.
Students in RCAH have access to professional creative spaces that allow them to use their talents to bring their projects to life. From old-style letter presses to a popular working theater, RCAH students undertake any number of artistic projects.
“By providing students access to professional creative tools, RCAH also gives MSU artists the opportunity to do what they’re passionate about,” Case emphasized, “reaffirming the vital role of the arts in the academic sphere and beyond.
“I am so grateful for the support, artistic and otherwise, that I always find among my friends in Capital Green and the college community here at MSU.”
Vitality is available now on all streaming platforms. The music video can be found on Capital Green’s YouTube.