Two a cappella groups from this university’s music school performed an array of songs in the Memorial Chapel Monday evening. 

Voix de Chanson and FreundeMusik performed everything from old Scottish folk to Dolly Parton. Some songs prompted sad memories while others invited audience members to tap their feet to the rhythm. 

The groups took turns singing a total of 10 pieces during the hour-long performance, the last of which they sang together.

The opening piece, “Ngana” by Stephen Leeks, is in the language of an indigenous Brazilian tribe. Four words are repeated throughout the song, highlighting a theme of including underrepresented languages.

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“When I was choosing my pieces, I definitely wanted variety, both in terms of tempo and language,” said junior music education major Kai Daley, one of the group’s directors. 

Founded in 2003, Voix de Chanson focuses on students who are altos and sopranos. Daley co-directs the group alongside junior music education major Sydney Black. 

FreundeMusik is the tenor and bass equivalent to Voix de Chanson and was formed in 2008. Junior music composition and voice performance major Lily Gallihue, junior English and music composition major Aidan Wilbur and linguistics, music education and voice performance fifth-year senior Colton Smith.

The groups rehearsed each week in The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center to prepare for four performances across the semester.

Members noted that the more casual environment is what differentiates the a cappella groups from choir groups that are part of college-credit courses offered at this university’s music school.

“I hope that the joy that we normally feel [in the choir room] gets translated,” Delany said. “There hasn’t been a single rehearsal where we haven’t laughed. And that’s something we’re really happy with this semester.”

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In 2022, Gallihue was one of the music students who advocated for the names of the a cappella groups to be gender-neutral. Voix de Chanson — French for  “Voices of Song” was formerly  called Femmes de Chanson, or “Women of Song.” FreundeMusik, which is German for “Friends of Music,” used to be called MännerMusik, which means “Men of Music.” 

Both groups have also challenged the gendered uniforms their predecessors wore at performances, such as scarves for Voix de Chanson and ties for FreundeMusik. On Monday, the groups opted to wear pins with their logos Galihue designed. 

Still, Voix de Chanson and FreundeMusik are not meant to be considered as queer a cappella groups, Gallihue said. 

“Here, your identity is, in a sense, kind of secondary,” aerospace engineering graduate student Logan Swaisgood said. “It’s really supported by everyone there because everyone knows we’re all different. We’re all just here to make music.“