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UNT’s newest a cappella group gives hopeful singers an outlet to use their voice

UNT’s newest a cappella group gives hopeful singers an outlet to use their voice

UNT’s newest a cappella group gives hopeful singers an outlet to use their voice
October 25
23:09 2017

For almost a decade, the Green Tones remained UNT’s sole a cappella group, but a new group of spirited singers is now in the making.

This group, the Vocal Chords, are currently in the process of becoming an official university organization.

International studies freshman Riddah Shahed and finance freshman Shyane Banuelos started the group. They auditioned for Green Tones near the beginning of the semester. When they wound up not landing spots in the ensemble, they came up with an idea to adapt.

“It was just so competitive, and we kind of felt bummed out after the auditions,” Shahed said. “[But this] is a music school, so there should be more a cappella groups. Why not just make a new one?”

Since Shahed and Banuelos share a passion for music, they wanted to join an organization that involved singing. By starting their own, they were able to sing and create a chance for similar students who were not accepted into the Green Tones but still wanted a way to use their voice.

“That way, more people have the opportunity to be part of a group,” Banuelos said. “It isn’t just one group, and you have two chances. Maybe it will inspire other people to make more groups on campus.”

Members of the Vocal Chords seem to appreciate their founders’ motives and values. Shahed and Banuelos initially got the word out about their organization by using email addresses from the Green Tones’ email to those who were not selected for the group.

Freshman and Vocal Chords tenor Ronaldo Monasterio is excited to be involved in an organization that’s just starting out.

“[Shahed and Banuelos] are basically like us,” Monasterio said. “They’re freshmen starting out just like us, so it’s a lot less stressful auditioning for them. They were a new group, so it’s great to start something new.”

Fall auditions have already taken place, and the group currently has eight members. Banuelos and Shahed wanted to start with a small group so that they could establish routines and pick out section leaders. Once they start growing, those section leaders will help teach new members instead of just the two founders shouldering all of the responsibility.

They will soon be holding elections among their members for officer positions such as secretary, treasurer and historian. Monasterio plans to run for historian because he can apply advertising skills that he learned when he was the editor of his high school’s yearbook.

“I know a little bit about advertising, and I really like advertising through social media,” Monasterio said.

Monasterio hopes advertising will help the group to grow and recruit new members.

The Vocal Chords will be holding auditions again in the spring, specifically looking for bass singers since they do not have any right now. After the next round of auditions, Banuelos would like to grow to at least 15 members — the average size of an a cappella group.

Once they’ve established the group, their goal is to compete in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA).

“One of our members went [to ICCA], and he said it was a really good experience because you’re not just doing simple stuff like performing at your university, but you’re actually going out and seeing the talent from all these different people,” Banuelos said.

As of right now, the group is focusing on Christmas performances. They hope to do Christmas caroling in the different dorms, which would involve singing a few songs in the lobby of a residence hall and then walking to the next one.

They also plan to perform in the Union Starbucks and at Sing! Texas, a local a cappella festival.

However, there are often roadblocks when it comes to booking gigs for the Vocal Chords.

Because they are not yet an official university program, they have limitations as to where they can perform. Becoming official has been a long and stressful process. The founders have had to fill out a constitution laying out the group’s intentions and rules, submit a list of members, put the group’s information into OrgSync and get everything approved by their sponsor, Tiffany L. Bromfield. It’s taken some time, but Shahed and Banuelos are both excited to get to the end of the process. As of Oct. 20, the group has to wait for three weeks before the decision is made to make their group official.

“It’s been a struggle, to be honest,” Shahed said. “We had to delay the rehearsals from this week because we could not book rooms since we’re not official yet. It’s been a long process. We’re at the end — almost.”

They have also dealt with discouragement simply because they are a new group. Some people who were initially interested in auditioning ended up feeling unsure about the organization.

“[We] had the feeling that they didn’t think it was going to be as good as Green Tones because it’s a new organization, but it has to start somewhere in order to grow,” Banuelos said.

In retrospect, the founders are both grateful they didn’t get into Green Tones. They believe it was meant to be so that they could have the opportunity to start another group.

“This would not exist without the audition for Green Tones,” Shahed said. “Instead of losing something, we kind of gained something out of it.”

Featured Image: The Vocal Chords, the newest a cappella ensemble at UNT, aims to provide a second opportunity for aspiring singers at UNT. The club currently has eight members and will hold auditions again in the spring. Sasha Calamaco | Staff Photographer

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Camila Gonzalez

Camila Gonzalez

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