A cappella club finds creative freedom
Before there was “Glee,” there was CatCall.
After holding auditions with four new members at the beginning of the semester, the all-male, student a cappella club, formed in 2008, is back for the 2013-2014 school year to serenade campus-goers during weekly performances.
The group’s 14 members — many of whom double as vocalists in various UA choirs — said they use CatCall as a creative outlet.
However, this still comes with hard work, said Keith Collett, CatCall’s president and a second-year law student.
“In general, our performances are kind of an interesting juxtaposition of the hard work and focus and the real ambition of all of the different members,” Collett said. “But it’s also a lot of fun. We laugh with each other, we’re all very good friends and so there’s definitely a fun aspect and laid-back atmosphere. It’s a very interesting combination of hard work and fun.”
Savannah Douglas/ Arizona Daily Wildcat The University of Arizona's all male CatCall Acapella group performs on campus every Monday at five in the afternoon. Bobby Way, a current member of CatCall, leads the group performance on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.
CatCall boasts accolades that include performing in a Straight No Chaser music video, hosting a workshop with the Grammy-winning New York Voices and advancing in the 2012 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Semifinals at the University of Southern California. In addition to its performances, CatCall carries a tradition of sorority serenades, singing outside the houses along Greek Row.
“The sororities obviously give us a lot of energy when we’re performing, so that’s always fun for us,” Collett said. “It definitely helps us to be confident about performing in front of people.”
It doesn’t hurt that every member dresses well, too, donning a suit for each performance.
“We pride ourselves in being the only male a cappella group here on campus,” said Thomas Alcaraz, a music education junior. “We want to perform to our best abilities and look our best every time that we perform.”
The group develops and orchestrates its vocal range based on how members feel it sounds, instead of relying on an instructor.
“With the student-run organization, there’s a lot more creative freedom and arrangement,” Collett said. “When people show up to rehearsal, they don’t show up because they want to get a grade — they show up because they want to be there. And we wouldn’t survive without that kind of passion.”
Whether it’s for the benefit of their career or their character, members take away something different from their experiences in CatCall.
“Other than just making music … it’s also helped me in my performance ability,” Alcaraz said. “It’s helped me get into music more — just express myself more while performing. Because it’s really easy to be nervous and get into your own shell when you sing, but being in the a cappella group, everyone is just really into it.”
CatCall performs at 5 p.m. on most Mondays in the Student Union Memorial Center, just outside the UofA Bookstore.
Visit Facebook.com/CatCallUA for more information.
Follow Amy Johnson @Amy_Jhnsn