Clefnotes Seeks New and Deeper Voices

Portia Hardy Contributing Writer

    The UMF Clefnotes, one of the two acapella groups on campus, is in dire need of male voices. Currently the club is composed of a majority of women with nine female vocalists and three male vocalists. 

    Vanessa Brown, co-president of the Clefnotes, says that having male vocalists is necessary to the functioning of the group. “They add a much-needed balance and sound to our group that we need for our arrangements,” said Brown in an email interview. “Having male voices also allows for us to meet new people, diversify our sound.”

    “Men tend to balance out the female voices with a deeper tone and a completely different sound,” said Teraesa Gioia, a second-year member of the group. “If there are too many female voices in a non-completely female group the sound will tend to sound very high and not quite complete, but with the tenor sound and the bass sound you can get a fully vocal experience.”

    The a cappella group has been historically more female oriented. “In the four years I’ve been in the group, we’ve always had more girls than guys. This is the first year that it’s changed,” said Brown. “A cappella, as a musical genre, has been fluctuating in general in popularity at many college campuses, but it’s slowly been fading out of interest.”

    Gioia echoed a similar sentiment as she said, “When I was a freshman there were four to five men, but there has never been more men than women, as far as I know.”

    Brown, however, said that a potential cause for this decrease may be in the UMF campus demographic: UMF has more female than male students.

    If the trend of more females joining the group continues, the Clefnotes may look to becoming an ensemble of female voices. “It wouldn’t be ideal, but we’re hoping that we can find more men to sing in our choir,” said Gioia. 

    Yet Brown feels that this version of the club’s future may not come true, noting that the club may adapt to a “different kind of music ensemble in general.” As a senior and co-leader in the club, Brown is focusing on “enjoying our last semester with these great individuals. It’s up to the group what their next step will be, and it’s my job and everyone else’s to help them get to that point.”

    Brown has a message for male singers on campus: “To all the male vocalists who are considering auditioning, or are afraid to audition, or don’t think they’re ‘good enough’ to audition: all voices are welcome,” she said. “You don’t need to be a perfect singer, there’s no such thing, we hope to see you there. And if it’s scary, we appreciate taking that risk; we’ve all been in your position, and we get it!” 

    The auditions for the Clefnotes this year will take place on Wed., Feb. 12, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Nordica Auditorium, in Merrill Hall. Interested singers should prepare 30 seconds of a chosen song.