It's way cool to perform on The Price Is Right or American Idol, but some of the best gigs are when Ithacappella performs on campus, at elementary schools, or just for each other.
While Ithacappella, Ithaca College’s all-male a capella group, is warming up before a performance on campus, hundreds of students line up for what seems like miles to snag a seat at the event. An Ithacappella show is unlike most, as it incorporates everything from strobe lights, humor, and skits to choral literature and radio hits.
“We pay a great deal of attention to what the audience will have fun listening to, while balancing it with what the guys in the group will enjoy singing and what songs we feel we can really connect with,” Ithacappella vice president Jimmy Knowles ’12, says. “If we find ourselves unable to connect with or have fun with a song, it’s hard to have a good time performing it.”
Practices and performances on campus are just the beginning.
Each year, the group does a five-day fall tour and a two-week winter tour. “Through these tours, I have definitely been given some incredible opportunities, including singing at Universal Studios, on the red carpet in Hollywood, on The Price is Right, and more recently with the unbelievable students of PS22 Chorus from Staten Island,” Knowles says.
Slide show best viewed in full screen.
Ithacappella president Matt Zeitler ’10 says it’s the group’s mission that makes them unique. “Our goal is to use music to reach people in a profound way and to increase the appreciation and awareness of a cappella music in our community and beyond,” Zeitler says. “We draw our inspiration as a group from making an impact on people’s lives through the music we make together.”
Zeitler says the a cappella singers also pride themselves on using their skills to teach younger generations. “We do several workshops a year to inspire younger musicians and explore music with them. We use our talents to give back to the community and love doing it.”
In February alone, Ithacappella did five community-service performances to benefit Haiti Relief, the homeless of Central New York, cancer research, and Invisible Children.
On average, the a cappella group performs six to ten times per month. “We get performance requests each and every day, stretching as far as Ohio,” Knowles said. “We have gotten requests for everything from weddings to banquets, festivals, workshops, and even movie premieres and fraternity and sorority events.”
As a result of all the time they spend together, the members maintain a strong relationship.
“The group is my family while at school, and I can rely on them to be there for me whenever I need them,” says Austin Kiley ’11. “We share some incredible, meaningful musical experiences.”
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