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At Inaugural Arts Week, A Cappella Night showcased groups' connection on stage

A Capella Night was one of U.Va. Arts Week’s most anticipated events

<p>Ektaal, The University’s only South Asian-American Fusion a cappella group sang two mash-ups complimented by rotating soloists</p>

Ektaal, The University’s only South Asian-American Fusion a cappella group sang two mash-ups complimented by rotating soloists

In-person musical events and concerts are back and better than ever, one of the most exciting being the University’s own "Pitch Perfect"-esque performances which included 14 beloved a cappella groups at the Amphitheater Sept. 30 as a part of Student Council’s first-ever Arts Week. 

The audience enjoyed performances by The Virginia Belles, The Silhooettes, The New Dominions, Academical Village People, the Flying Vs, Remix, Hoos In Treble, the Virginia Gentleman, CHoosE, Achoostics, Harmonious Hoos, Ektaal, the Hullabahoos and Hoos in the Stairwell, creating a sense of community among a cappella and the groups' friends and fans.

Each group performed two songs of their choice. The effort and care that each group had for their performance was evident, as well as the clear love that each member has for singing and performing. 

Abby Rothenberg, fourth-year Batten and Education student and president of the New Dominions, embodies the true a cappella spirit, both planning and performing at the event. 

“A lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of coordination goes into planning an event like this,” Rothenberg said. “There are 14 amazing a cappella groups that are here to perform tonight. We had to work with multiple AV guys to get this all set up and we had to coordinate with a lot of U.Va. faculty to get this organized and get the amplified sound request to go through.” 

"I'm really excited and it's so much fun to get to hear all the awesome groups,” Rothenberg said. “I had to make sure that all the groups were able to be sound checked and ready, and come on time to perform.”

Rothenberg also shared the joys of being involved in a cappella at the University, saying “It's just really fun to get to sing with your best friends. The whole point of this event was really just to celebrate all of a cappella and get to support each other, so I'm really glad we get to sit here and watch each other.”

The event was extremely well organized, and the emcee was well-prepared with jokes surrounding each group and their song choices between each performance. The emcee appeared just as excited to watch and perform and always cheered each other on while waiting to go on stage. 

Ektaal, The University’s only South Asian American Fusion a cappella group, sang two mash-ups complimented by rotating soloists. The group's casual and friendly atmosphere came through in their performance, allowing the audience to feel right at ease. 

Ashwin Swaminathan, fourth-year in the School of Engineering and president of Ektaal, shared the group's preparation for their performance. It was clear that the group was very enthusiastic about performing and had paid attention to detail when practicing.

“Preparing for a performance is a lot of getting everyone in practice to pretend like it’s concert time and that the room is the audience," Swaminathan said. "I think the biggest thing is getting over the nerves, that's the biggest difference between when we're in practice, like it's just us, because we're all friends, and then when we're performing for a big group the nerves are a big thing.” 

It became even more clear while interviewing that the group was extremely tight-knit and enjoyed their time performing together.

"We have practice twice a week for two hours each time [and] outside of that we like to go on IHOP runs after practice," Swaminathan said. "A couple of us came early [to the performance] because we had to help set up, we were just hanging out, studying, eating some Ben and Jerry’s.” 

Overall, the performance was uplifting, the music was exceptional and truly showed the heart of a cappella at the University. What makes each performance, other than the amazing vocals, are the friendships and connections shown on stage between members, which can be seen on stage and off.

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