t took more than a week, but the Big Ten finally has one at all eleven campuses.
Seven Days is the name of the University’s new a capella choir. The choir is led by Anthony Brown and Brienne Foyt.
“I knew the University didn’t have an a capella choir, but I wasn’t sure how to start one,” Brown said. “Then I remembered I could register as a student group if I had three people and $15, so I did.”
Brown and Foyt originally planned on a seven-member group, but after 55 people showed up at auditions they bumped the number up to 18. A Jewish member told the group that 18 means “life” in Hebrew. This prompted the group to adopt the slogan “Life exists in seven days.”
Lindsay Polasek and Jennifer Kelley sing Soprano I, the highest voices in the choir. Liz Cummings and Anna Milcarek sing Soprano II, Lisa Elsen and Colleen Harvey claim the Alto I spots, and Brenda Mencl and Alyson Wise sing Alto II.
Bryan Mechell and Erik Rohde provide the Tenor I voices, while Anthony Galloway and Joe Heinert sing Tenor II. Ari Herstand and Dan Peltzman are the Baritones and Andrew Berkowitz and Bryan Brody are Basses. Brown provides vocal percussion for the group and Foyt, as a “floater,” sings either Soprano II or Alto I, depending on which part needs another voice. Soprano I singers are the easiest to hear because their voices are in a higher register, so Foyt comes to the rescue when the Soprano II or Alto I notes need a little extra.
“Singing a capella is a more personal way to entertain,” Foyt said. “It’s hard to be heard in a large, accompanied choir, and we can sing wherever we need to because we don’t need a piano or anything.”
Because no accompaniment is needed, the group can sing anything after the song has been arranged to accommodate all voices. Brown and Foyt do most of the arranging, but when more members listen to the music the group picks up things that hadn’t been heard the first or the twelfth time through the song.
Foyt began singing a capella music three years ago, and now she’s hooked. “It’s an unappreciated genre of music. It’s huge on the East and West coasts where schools recruit singers how other schools recruit athletes,” she said.
“It’s sad that it’s taken this long for the University of Minnesota to get an a capella choir,” Brown said, “but I’m proud to be a part of it.”
While the group has chosen only three songs so far, the members hope to have a repertoire of 10 to 14 songs by the end of the semester. Because it is the group’s first year, there is no set list of songs the upperclassmen know and only the rookies need to learn.
“We know it’ll be a challenge and that it’ll take us a while,” Foyt said.
“We’re focusing on learning this semester, and then we’ll start looking for places to perform,” Brown said.
Once the group gets a song list built, it will sing anywhere and everywhere, whether it’s for University events or somewhere else in the Twin Cities, Brown and Foyt said.