Eastern Euphonics lack of instruments, lots of fun

Mercury Bowen, Staff Reporter

Eastern Euphonics is a recently established A Cappella group for students who share the same passion for singing and have a genuine love for music.

Performers use their voices and body percussion such as clapping or stomping to imitate instrumental background.

The idea for an A Cappella group at Eastern came about at the end of last semester and was approved in early October. Several students showed an interest and then decided to create a name.

The name Euphonics comes from the Greek word euphonos, which means “well-sounding.”

The group then sought out their sponsor, Cameron Craig, a Geography professor who is currently working on his master’s in choral conducting. Craig is involved in many aspects of music on and off campus as well as with WEIU.

Craig said that he was very excited when the group contacted him to be a sponsor and the students have good vocal quality, energy, and a lot of excitement.

“All of them who participate in Euphonics are very talented,” Craig said, “We look forward to bigger things later in the future.”

Euphonics were met with overwhelming support and the group members were stunned by the audition turnouts, president Brian Hartman said.

“We were blown away by the talent,” Hartman said, “We really wanted to take everyone.”

Many of the group members who had to sort through the audition tapes said it was difficult to turn anyone away.

“That just says so much about this campus,” treasurer Kaycee Lewis said, “So many people are so talented and they don’t know how much talent they have until they audition for something like this.”

Hartman said that the group has met around 10 times this semester and has already learned several songs.

One of the major goals of Euphonics is to begin building a set for the Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.

Dubbed the real-life “Pitch Perfect” the ICCA is a tournament showcasing the art of student A Cappella. It would allow Euphonics to compete with A Cappella groups from other universities for a chance to go to finals in New York City.

“We’re just as talented as the other groups,” Hartman said, “They’re good, and I don’t see why we can’t be just as good.”

Many of Euphonics’ members are not music majors, and some do not have much background with A Cappella. Hartman said that he had never been in an A Cappella group before, and he was the one to initiate Euphonics. The group includes athletes, actors, chemists, geographers, marketing majors, family and consumer science majors, and many more.

“We’re very diverse in majors,” Lewis said.

Haley Altgilbers, music director and vice president, said that students do not have to be music majors or even have experience at all; they just need to enjoy singing and sound good doing so. The group is currently in need of a vocal percussionist and would like to find one soon.

Music is arranged by the group members to fit the A Cappella format.

Hartman said that one of the reasons for creating Euphonics was to perform more modern music.

“We are singing, like, things that you hear on the radio,” Hartman said, “things that you could listen to in your car and jam out to.”

When asked about a favorite song, several group members gave different answers. Kristen Ed, freshman public relations major, said that she enjoys “White Winter Hymnal” because it has a lot of variety.

“I think ‘Blank Space’ is pretty fun,” Lewis said, “This arrangement is really, really fun.”

Freshman Caroline Collet said she loves the way the group manages to blend together on the harmonies.

“It never ceases to amaze me how good we can all blend,” secretary Cullen Scurlock said, “After the first rehearsal I was blown away.”

There is an overwhelming sense of camaraderie within Euphonics. The practice included much laughter, breaks for cookies, and an impromptu rap battle.

Several members agreed that it is this cohesive nature and the maintenance of their friendships that creates the success of the group.

“We are an extremely strange family,” Hartman said laughing, “You have to love music, but at the same time you have to love the people that you’re singing with.”

It can also be difficult to sing in front of people, especially in a large group.

“There’s a certain vulnerability necessary for singing in a choral group,” Altgilbers said, “You kind of have to be willing to go for it and also willing to mesh with the people around you.”

Auditions for the group will be held at the beginning of next semester, however students are welcome to contact an officer or go to the “Eastern Euphonics” page on Facebook.

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]