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State of Fifths: A Harmonious Community of Friendship and Musicality

State of Fifths, one of Michigan State University's talented a cappella groups, stands out for its remarkable blend of harmonious singers and diverse range of musical genres. As one of the two co-ed a cappella groups on campus, they bring a unique and dynamic presence to the music scene. What truly sets them apart is their close-knit "Fifths Family”, in-house arrangements, and a strong sense of balance that fosters both friendship and musical excellence.

Karina Stankowski, PR Manager and senior of State of Fifths, brings us through the journey of the magic of State of Fifths. Continue reading to learn more about the Fifths Family.

The Fifths Family (2022-2023)

Nurturing Growth: Embracing Fresh Perspectives and New Ideas

State of Fifths was founded in 2008, making them one of the younger a cappella groups on campus. This fresh perspective comes with numerous advantages, notably their adaptability. The group takes pride in providing a wide range of leadership opportunities to all its members and remains open to embracing and experimenting with new ideas and sounds. This spirit of flexibility and innovation creates a vibrant and dynamic environment within the group, fostering growth and nurturing a culture of inclusivity.

The ideal fit for the Fifths Family is someone who not only focuses on honing their musical abilities but also cherishes the meaningful connections forged beyond rehearsals. Striking a perfect work-life balance, the group rehearses twice a week, dedicating several hours to their craft, while also prioritizing weekends for bonding through Pitch Perfect movie nights, concert after-parties, and attending on-campus activities together. This harmonious blend of dedication and camaraderie captures the essence of the Fifths Family, making State of Fifths a welcoming home for both musical exploration and genuine friendships.

Fostering Creativity

What sets this group apart is their remarkable self-sustainability. State of Fifths takes pride in producing all of its arrangements and choreography in-house, providing a unique opportunity for members to explore their musical creativity and arranging skills. This hands-on approach empowers each member to contribute their talents and try their hand at creating original arrangements, fostering a culture of artistic growth and collaboration. For instance, incoming sophomore Sydney Gringorten showcased her dance expertise by choreographing a unique set for their ICCA performance, making her mark as a first-year member.

Beyond seeking talented singers, State of Fifths places immense value on finding individuals who embody the essence of being "good humans" and can seamlessly blend into their tight-knit family. During auditions, they look for candidates who not only possess musical prowess but also exude a sense of kindness and camaraderie. This emphasis on unity and connection is at the core of their selection process, creating a harmonious and supportive environment within the group.

Into the Audition Room: A Welcoming Experience

When auditioning for State of Fifths, the group asks that you prepare a verse and a chorus of your chosen song. While auditionees often wonder about the ideal song choice, State of Fifths prides itself on encompassing a wide array of musical genres in their repertoire. Thus, they encourage candidates to look beyond genre and simply select a song they feel confident and comfortable singing.

Once inside the audition room, you'll have the opportunity to perform for the Fifths members, who will also test your vocal range through a series of scales. Moreover, they will ask a couple of fun questions to get a sense of your personality. After your audition, you eagerly await a call from the group to find out whether you will be invited back for a callback. If you receive a callback, you'll have the chance to sing for the group again, learn some music with the current members as well as the other auditionees, engage in friendly conversations, and participate in some of their cherished audition traditions. Finally, you'll await another call that will reveal the results of this exciting musical journey. Throughout the audition process, State of Fifths ensures a welcoming and encouraging experience for all, making it an unforgettable step towards becoming part of the Fifths Family.

A Glimpse Into the Year as a Fifths Member

Throughout the year, State of Fifths embarks on a diverse range of exciting performance opportunities. Among them is their invitational concert GLAS, short for the Great Lakes A Cappella Showcase, where they share the stage with other esteemed collegiate a cappella groups from the Midwest. The group also eagerly participates in the ICCA competition alongside other MSU a cappella groups, striving to excel and make their mark each year. This past spring, they were proud to place 3rd at the ICCA Great Lakes Quarterfinals, and win the Outstanding Soloist (Sophia Wahl) and Outstanding Vocal Percussionist (Charles Dunn) awards within their group. Moreover, they host a memorable Spring Showcase, bidding farewell to their seniors and enchanting audiences with their varied repertoire.

Beyond these major events, Fifths loves to seize opportunities for performing in various gigs throughout the school year. A shining moment was when they had the honor of performing a half-time show at a Michigan State Basketball game last December and singing the Star-Spangled Banner at a Detroit Pistons basketball game in February! To ensure they deliver their best, the group diligently rehearses on Wednesday and Sunday evenings from 8-10:30, honing their skills and nurturing their harmonious spirit. The school year as a Fifths member is filled with captivating performances and cherished memories, capturing the essence of their musical journey as a close-knit and dynamic a cappella family.

Aside from performances, the group enjoys their yearly Fall Retreat, annual Homecoming game tailgate with current Fifths members and alumni, weekend get-togethers with each other and other groups, and attending Hayride and Aca-Formal, which are relatively new traditions in the a cappella community.


Think you’d be a good fit for the Fifths Family? Follow them on Instagram at @StateofFifths to receive audition information and updates. Karina also encourages auditionees to reach out to them via direct message if they have any direct questions.

Award-Winning Set

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