The fall semester is usually filled with open houses and showcases from Kenyon’s a capella groups, but this year, as with most college activities, the pandemic has changed that. Live performances are suspended and the groups’ primarily upperclass leadership is spread throughout the country due to being remote this semester.
Due to these challenges, all except one a capella group have decided to go on hiatus. The Chasers will be the only group to hold auditions and rehearsals this semester.
The Chasers’ leadership understand there are limited opportunities for performances this semester, but still want to continue running the group because of the positive impact it may have on new students. “Our group made such a difference when we were [first years], giving positive upperclassmen relationships and role models, [so] we wanted to provide that even if it is [virtual],” said Kate Rarey ’22, a co-president for the Chasers.
Members of the Chasers, especially those on campus, were enthusiastic about holding auditions and virtual rehearsals. “Our sophomores are facilitating our callbacks,” Rarey said. “They’re doing huge amounts of work that in many ways they weren’t prepared for.”
The Chasers’ leadership is mostly off campus, but they have been successful in holding meetings via Zoom. Once rehearsals begin, the Chasers expect to hold a mix of in-person and virtual meetings.
As for the rest of the a capella community, once it was announced that juniors and seniors would study remotely for the fall semester, Sarah Greenspon ’21 of the Ransom Notes and her fellow a capella leaders immediately contemplated how they might be able to perform or rehearse together in person. However, they soon ran up against the limits of technology.
“[There’s a lack of] music intention with this machinery,” Greenspon said. “It’s hard when you’re on FaceTime trying to sing along with someone and someone’s lagging behind. … It doesn’t work.”
The a capella groups hope that the spring semester will be safer and provide more opportunities for live performance. In the meantime, the Kenyon community awaits a day when they can hear a Lonely Island mashup in Rosse Hall again.