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Meet The Spartan Dischords: Michigan State’s Oldest Lower Voices A Cappella Group

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

Known for their “fine blend of harmony and humor,” the Spartan Dischords were the pioneers in establishing an a cappella presence on the banks of the Red Cedar at Michigan State University. To give you an inside look at this incredible all lower-voiced group, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jared Bloch, the President of Dischords.


As an incoming senior, Jared has been fortunate enough to witness several full cycles of a Dischord a cappella season. When asked to describe the group, Jared beautifully expressed, “it's a group for anyone, not just music majors, who don’t want to go put in a ton of effort into competing. It's just for people who love to sing and want people to hang out with!”


Spartan Dischords' Anniversary Concert

The Roots of the Group

Before a cappella existed as we know it today, the future members of the Dischords were part of a group named “The Singing Statesmen.” In search of a more relaxed and pop-oriented ensemble, choral director Paul Schultz decided to branch off and create a new group: The Spartan Dischords. Although they didn't start exclusively singing a cappella until 1991, the group was formed, and the rest is history. For a more in-depth exploration of their roots, click this link.


The Essence of the Community

What sets this community apart is its relaxed and welcoming nature. The Dischords prioritize the joy of music and prefer to focus on performing at gigs and singing recreationally rather than diving into the intense world of competitive a cappella.


However, Jared emphasizes that auditionees should know that even though they are laid-back, they are still dedicated and organized in their approach. He shares, “we love to chill, sing, and do what we want. But, there's still definitely order, and we still like to plan things out.”


What makes the Dischords truly special is the sense of community it fosters. Becoming a Dischord means gaining a new family. Jared spoke passionately about how he feels a strong bond with every member, past or present, and can count on their support. Recently celebrating their momentous 40th anniversary and alumni concert, the Dischords experienced an even deeper connection with their extended musical family.


Ideal Members

When asked about the ideal member for the Dischords, Jared's response was heartening: there isn't just one ideal type. The group prides itself on its diversity, welcoming students from all walks of life, whether they are athletically inclined or proudly embrace their "nerdy" passions, as Jared affectionately described it. The Dischords believe that this diversity of personalities and interests enriches their collective experience and contributes to their harmonious spirit.


In essence, being a part of the Dischords transcends singing together; it's about forming lifelong bonds, supporting one another, and celebrating the joy of music as a close-knit family.


Logistical Differences

One distinctive aspect that sets the Dischords apart from other groups on campus is their flexible time commitment. Unlike some a cappella groups that engage in competitive events like the ICCA, the Dischords choose to meet only twice a week, allowing members to strike an easy balance between their academic pursuits and their passion for music.


Auditioning for the Dischords

When considering auditioning for the Dischords, cultural fit takes center stage. In addition to showcasing your singing abilities with a cut from your chosen repertoire, they'll also invite you to share a joke that's meant to be a bit on the cheeky side, one you "wouldn't tell your parents." This unique approach helps them assess not only your musical compatibility but also your capacity to bring laughter and joy to the group dynamic.


Unforgettable Moments

Among their many memorable performances, one standout event this year was their appearance at the Detroit Tree Lighting, where they had the incredible opportunity to meet the renowned Glee legend, Darren Criss. The experience left a lasting impression, deepening the bond among the Dischords.


When they're not enchanting audiences with their harmonies, you can find them unwinding together at the beloved "D-House," a central hub for the group, enjoying hearty breakfasts at Flapjacks, or connecting online for a friendly game of "Jack in the Box." These activities strengthen their camaraderie and create lasting memories that they cherish beyond their musical endeavors.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the Dischords at Michigan State University embody the true essence of music and community. Their journey from "The Singing Statesmen" to becoming the Spartan Dischords reflects a rich history of evolution and growth. Their commitment to each other goes beyond performances, forming a close-knit family that cherishes connections and lasting memories. Want to join the legacy of the Spartan Dischords? Follow them on Instagram and check out their website here!


The Spartan Dischords 2022


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