Flying on the high notes
Anyone can turn on the radio and hear Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” but it’s rare to find an a cappella version with cats’ meows replacing the lyrics. This kind of quirky talent is on display behind the scenes of the University’s only all-rock a cappella group, The Flying Virginians.
This co-ed group, now entering its fourth year, stands apart from groups typically heard at University events such as Rotunda Sing. The group sings everything from alternative rock such as the Goo Goo Dolls to heavy rock such as Flyleaf.
“I could not even imagine singing a pop song with the same chords over and over,” said second-year Engineering student Constance Tan. “It would drive me to the ground.”
The musical interests and personalities of individual members are as varied as the rock genre. The group brings in members who have no musical background to perform alongside music savants.
“We’ve chosen people on character and if they have distinct sound,” said Tan, who is responsible for the meowing on the group’s Gotye cover.
Because they are a relatively new group, the Flying V’s have not yet had a major concert performance.
“We’ve done concerts for just 10 people,” said third-year College student Katie Swindler, the Flying V’s vice president. “We walk into the room and its like, darn it, it’s going to be another one of those.”
Rehearsals are a combination of fun, hard work and collaboration. The process of creating an arrangement starts with one member proposing a song and then writing each part on her own. Each of the four parts — soprano, alto, tenor and bass — work with section leaders until they all come together in rehearsal.
“So many of us are leaders,” Swindler said. “And when you have so many leaders in one place we can get really mad at each other. But at the end of the day we’d rather be here because we’re making really epic music.”
Since the Flying V’s were founded in 2009 by Lauren Groetch, who graduated in 2011, their fan base has grown. Student Council last year named them the University’s best CIO in the arts.
“We’ve gotten bigger performances, more fans, and we hope to make a CD later this year,” said third-year College student Richad Becker, the group’s president.
Current Flying V’s fans have their own label, “V Hipsters,” Roy said — because they “knew about us before we became cool.”
The Flying V’s next performance is Friday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Special Collections Library. They’ll perform a lineup of new hits and old rock classics. Whether you like pop or rock or something in between, the energy and quirkiness this group brings to the stage will please any music lover.
“If you sing a solo and you nail it, it’s just the best feeling,” second-year College student Leighanna Morris said, one of the group’s members. “You just forget about everything else.”