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Freshman Guide: A Cappella Groups and How to Avoid Each of Them

Freshman Guide: A Cappella Groups and How to Avoid Each of Them

They harassed you at the student org fair. They’ve invaded your dorms in the dead of night to “rehearse”. And now, as peak a cappella season draws near, you wonder how much time you’ve got left before they overrun your study spots, classes, and homes with their cacophonous voice sounds. Luckily, after years of extensive and life-threatening research in the wilds of South Campus, I have compiled a guide to identifying and warding off these untamed beasts.

1. Freshman 15

A cappella singers are social animals, and no species more-so than the Freshman 15. Do not let the name fool you; alarmingly few of them are freshmen and there are certainly more than 15. Although members of this musical fraternity tend to be extremely friendly to strangers, they almost always move as a pack and, if undeterred, will unleash physical and spiritual destruction unto any new environment they encounter.

How to Spot Them: Medium to large groups of males wearing green, display affection via 100% platonic bro-hugging.

How to Stop Them: Before they begin singing, suggest that they go hang out at someone’s apartment instead. They will proceed to go hang out at someone’s apartment instead.

2. Asterik

A closely related species to the Freshman 15, Asterik is virtually indistinguishable from them save a few important differences: they wear blue. Their greatest strength, and greatest weakness, is their unmatched love of debauchery. This species is so notorious for its constant inebriation that even its name is drunk, having lost its second S and WildCard on the way back from a Phi Delt party in 2009.

How to Spot Them: Medium to large groups of males wearing blue, scent their territory with Svedka and Pabst.

How to Stop Them: Leave an open bottle of the cheapest alcohol you can find as far away from your habitation or favorite study area as possible. Asterik will sense it with their incredibly sharp sense of smell and flock toward it.

3. Undertones

A proud and noble clan, the Undertones are especially dangerous this year due to their recent success at the Great Lakes ICCA Quarterfinals. (ICCA’s are an annual gathering where particularly ambitious a cappella groups compete with each other to see who can perform their screeching rituals the best.) If an Undertone attempts to talk about the following,

  • ICCA’s
  • Barcelona
  • Their albums
  • How much rehearsal they have
  • That show that they’re currently in
  • The word ‘Tones’ to refer to themselves
  • Sorority/fraternity events
  • Barcelona, Spain

disengage IMMEDIATELY and find cover. They are crafty and charismatic, and you will be committing to at least two hours of one-sided conversation once you allow them to begin.

How to Spot Them: No need. They will spot you and declare their Undertone status upon meeting.

How to Stop Them: There is no stopping a direct Undertone attack. Your best bet is to hide up in North Campus until the threat has left the area.

4. Tempo Tantrum

The youngest addition to the ecosystem of Northwestern a cappella, Tempo Tantrum is easily identifiable by their matching striped ties and existential angst. They tend to roam around their traditional hunting grounds in the Bienen School of Music, but have been known to migrate as far north as 560 Lincoln, likely attracted to its clean architecture and innovative interior design.

How to Spot Them: Meticulously crafted purple and gold outfits with matching accessories, occasional Grindr notification noise.

How to Stop Them: Loudly claim that your favorite classical music song is “Ride of the Valkyries” by Wagner (pronounced like ‘waggoner’). They will frantically try to explain the last 500 years of music history to you until they tire out and indignantly storm off to their caves beneath Bienen.

5. Significant Others

Significant Others is the only all-female a cappella group on campus and is actually really chill. Nobody knows their official colors.

How to Spot Them: Only a cappella group that’s all female even though there’s like three that are all male, what’s up with that anyway?

How to Stop Them: Don’t. Invite them to hang out with you and your friends!

6. Extreme THUNK Factors

The ETF are basically identical to the Undertones except friendlier and less concerned with the “quality” of their sound. I think they have an album out or something. They have nice personalities.

How to Spot Them: They wear pink and other colors, enjoy jumping a lot.

How to Stop Them: Threaten to tell the University about their scavenger hunt and make them attend a one hour lecture about University hazing policy at 9 AM.

7. Purple Haze Wait I Mean Sugar4Real Wait I Mean Treblemeasures No Wait Shirei…

Literally, how are there so many a cappella groups? You probably don’t need to worry about this one too much.

How to Spot Them: I don’t know, probably have matching hoodies or something.

How to Stop Them: Does it even matter at this point?

8. Cru

They go by “Harmony in Spirit” and have the musicality you’d expect from a non-Mormon Christian youth group.

How to Spot Them: I’m sick of doing these.

How to Stop Them: There’s no way you’re still reading these.

9. IDK Like Renaissance Singers I Guess

RenSingers are the only actual a cappella group because they exclusively sing in chapels. Blah blah blah a cappella whatever.

How to Spot Them: Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

How to Stop Them: h

10. Why Did SOA Allow All Of These Groups To Be Made?

Why didn’t anyone speak up and stop this? Northwestern’s a cappella scene is like the Duggar Family; every year the number goes up AND COUNTING, like, what school brags about how many a cappella groups it has? What are they contributing to the community? Have you ever been to an a cappella show? It’s fun for like 5 minutes, maybe 10 if you’re wasted, and then the next HOUR is you SITTING THERE watching unaccompanied “singing” and semi-choreographed bobbing.

Hopefully this guide will save a few of you from the ever-growing onslaught of a cappella groups. For the rest of you, I suggest accepting the fact that you’ll be hearing ten different a cappella versions of “Stacy’s Mom” in the next few months.

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