My Aca-Family

This past January, I did something I wouldn’t normally do, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.

I auditioned for a cappella.

When I say that a cappella is something that I wouldn’t normally do, I don’t mean that singing was something that I didn’t enjoy. In fact, when I was a kid, I was really into singing. I was in a children’s choir, I took voice lessons, and I even performed in a couple of musicals. As I grew up, though, my interest in singing lost its priority among all of the other activities in my life. I joined the band, which consumed most of my time outside of school, and I joined a variety of academic and service organizations.Without my realizing it, singing had lost its place in my life.

When I arrived at WashU in the fall, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as far as extracurriculars went, so when all of the a cappella groups on campus had fall auditions, I didn’t audition. Huge mistake. My suitemate Katherine, however, did audition, and she made it into After Dark, one of the co-ed a cappella groups on campus that competes against a cappella groups from universities across the country. The rest of the semester, Katherine would come home from practices three nights a week and rave to me about what songs After Dark was singing. Her enthusiasm for the group was infectious, and I was excited to hear about all of the fun she was having and even all of the traveling she was doing. During fall break, she had the opportunity to go to Chicago to compete!

After Dark after their spring concert, “After Dark Gets Real”

With Katherine’s encouragement, I decided that I wanted to audition for a cappella this spring, but I didn’t know which group to audition for or even which groups were holding spring auditions. As fate would have it, though, I ended up enrolled in the same piano class as James, the group coordinator of The Ghost Lights, a co-ed group that sings anything theatrical, cinematized, or televised. Because I love musical theatre, it was easy for James to convince me to audition for the group.

Like I said at the beginning of this entry: one of the best decisions of my life. When I made it into the group, I was ecstatic to be singing and performing again. But I quickly discovered that my a cappella group is more than an a cappella group. As cheesy as it sounds, they are a family. From day one, as I watched all of these people I didn’t yet know interact with one another (at one point doing each other’s hair, courtesy of Beauty and the Bass [a trademark-pending hair and beauty salon/spa solely operated by The Ghost Lights bass section]), I knew I found the group for me. These bright, funny, and caring people welcomed me into the group this spring as though we were old friends, and everyday since, they’ve taught me more and more about what it truly means to be part of a community.


Part of my a cappella group at our pretzel making party. This was my official first day as part of the group.

As I write this, our spring concert approaches. We’ve rehearsed hours and hours to put together a spectacular concert, and I’ll be performing alongside some of my best friends. This week has been a hectic one as we’ve made props, flyered all the dorms with our ads, and finished up a lot of our choreography, but it has been worth it. At our concert Sunday, we will see all of our hard work come together as something fun for us to present and something enjoyable for others to watch. As a newbie, I am so excited for my first Ghost Lights concert!

Even if singing is not your thing, I encourage you to try something new at WashU, be it an extracurricular, a class, or some other sort of event. Finding what you love to do is a quintessential aspect of the collegiate experience, and I encourage you to explore. That exploration may mean the beginning of a new, exciting, and absolutely fantastic experience.

For more information on The Ghost Lights, check out http://ghostlights.wustl.edu/

For more information on After Dark, check out http://wuafterdark.com/

For more information on all of WashU’s a cappella groups, check out http://acac.wustl.edu/groups/