Masks Can’t Stop the Music

Masks Can’t Stop the Music

Clefnotes President Gacie Vaughn by Sam Shirley

Clefnotes President Gacie Vaughn by Sam Shirley

By Samantha Pond, Contributing Writer

    Two of UMF’s acapella groups, Deep Treble and the Clefnotes, are finding ways to continue making music despite the pandemic. 

    In March 2020, both groups were thrown for a loop when schools started to close down and no one was able to rehearse together. All plans for Deep Treble and the Clefnotes were brought to a halt, as singing in groups was not recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

    Over the summer, both of UMF’s acapella groups worked online to plan for the fall semester. Working together was necessary for groups to stay positive. “We frequently Zoom to check in on each other and discuss future club plans,” said Gracie Vaughan, second-year student and the president of the Clefnotes.

    Both groups on campus are not giving up on rehearsals and meetings during these challenging times. Third-year student and co-president of Deep Treble, Kaitlynn Tarbox, has shown great determination to help keep Deep Treble together. “We have still been meeting twice a week during the pandemic with heavily enforced COVID procedures to ensure everyone’s safety,” Tarbox said. “We have to keep 10 feet of distance between everyone while we sing and still be masked to follow CDC guidelines.”         

    Rehearsals for the Clefnotes are looking a little different than Deep Treble’s rehearsals. “We no longer have full group meetings and meet instead in smaller groups of less than six people,” Vaughan said. “While it has created some physical challenges, it has truly shown many of our members’ determination to keep Clefnotes fun.”

    With constant changes in regulations, members not able to attend, and not being able to find spaces for each group to rehearse and perform as a whole, both groups have faced challenges. “It has been difficult to find performance opportunities that were not virtual,” said Tarbox. “It is very difficult to put together a virtual concert so in-person performances are preferred if we can.” 

    For the acapella group, Clefnotes have felt differing struggles as they continue rehearsals in small groups and on Zoom. “Additionally, the stress of the pandemic itself has only intensified the stress of being in college, as many of us are juggling jobs, clubs, and social lives,” said Vaughan. 

    Despite the hoops the Clefnotes and Deep Treble have had to jump through to be able to practice together, singing acapella has kept members optimistic about the rest of the semester. “We are remaining a positive, safe space…so that our members can have a break from academics and still be able to see each other,” Tarbox said. “All of our decisions are run by not only our [executive] board members, but by the group as well.” 

    Auditions have become a struggle for both groups, as there is no place for them to be held when taking into consideration the conflict of safety when doing so. “[Deep Treble] held auditions last semester and filled some of our available spots, but this semester, with COVID-19 getting worse, we decided to hold off on auditions until next fall,” said Tarbox. The Clefnotes accepted video submissions for their auditions. Those who have auditioned and qualified for callbacks will receive their callback confirmation via email by Feb. 12.

    If students would like more information about either group on campus, please contact for information on Deep Treble or for Clefnotes or DM them on Instagram (@umfclefnotes).

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. 

Clefnotes Add to their Voice

Clefnotes Add to their Voice

By Maegan Hewey Contributing Writing

Clefnotes recently inducted new members into the group. (Photo courtesy of Josh Beckett)

 Nordica Auditorium roared with sound on Wednesday, Sept. 12. as students rolled into the auditorium and filled the chairs for the auditions to join Clefnotes. As hopefuls and club members alike watched, one by one the auditioners went on stage, sang 30 seconds of their song choice, followed by a range check and harmonising with three of the other members. Out of the 29 people who auditioned, only five made it in.

   McKayla Marois, a Junior and 2nd year Clefnotes member, said, “I am extremely excited; we took in some fantastic talent and I can’t wait to see them learn from us and watch them grow as a group.”

   This year the newest members of the Clefnotes are Tess Gioia, Adrienne Chandler, Jen Larson, Sarah Ventimiglia, and Drew Monteith. These five made it through both the auditions and callback.

  Ventimiglia, a freshman at UMF, has known that she wanted to audition for Clefnotes for years. “I wanted to join Clefnotes since I toured UMF in the 8th grade,” said Ventimiglia. “I thought their music was beautiful and I could see that they really enjoyed doing what they do.”

    Ventimiglia has sung since 3rd grade and has continued her passion since. Ventimiglia was confident up on stage, and showed no fear in her eyes as she auditioned with a piece from “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley.

   Auditioning in front of a crowd was new for Ventimiglia.“The audition was not what I had expected. Many people were in the audience, but only a few were auditioning,” said Ventimiglia. “I did not know people were simply allowed to sit and support us.”

   After everyone auditioned that night, the hopefuls were told whether or not they got a callback. “I was so unbelievably surprised that I had made it in that I had burst into tears and shouted, ‘I can’t believe I made it!’” Ventimiglia said.

   Clefnotes is a club that has been around for more than six years, always allowing anyone to audition. “We hold auditions every fall and spring semester,” said Marois. Holding auditions every year encourages more people to join, or gain the confidence to try out.

   Marois was not nervous during the audition process. “I knew that whatever was going to happen, was going to happen. We put in a lot of work and there wasn’t much more we could have done to bring people to auditions,” Marois said. “We worked hard and I am proud of my group.”

   To learn more about upcoming Clefnotes events, follow them on Facebook at “UMF Clefnotes.”

UMF Enjoys Rare Collaboration

By Kelsey Dunn – Contributing Writer

Students were recently treated to a collaboration of UMF’s Lawn Chair Pirates (LCP), Bust A Move Beavers (BAM), and Clefnotes called “Pirates Bust a Clef” in Lincoln Auditorium. This collaboration has not happened in years, making the performance more surprising and enjoyable.

Each group is different in their own way and brings UMF an extra flare. BAM expresses themselves through dance styles such as tap, hip hop, clogging, and lyrical. LCP is UMF’s talented improv comedy group, bringing laughter to Lincoln Auditorium regularly. Clefnotes is UMF’s pop vocalist group, singing current and popular songs that students can all sing along to.

While students were filling up Lincoln Auditorium, some students sang along to the music that was playing beforehand. BAM members started to clap to a song and urged the crowd to join in. Soon, the room was filled with a rhythmic beat. The three distinctive groups were dressed in different colors; LCP wore red shirts, BAM wore black and Clefnotes wore their white club shirts.

“We spent a long time figuring out how this would all work out because we weren’t around when it happened in the past,” said Josh Beckett, a junior and co-leader of Clefnotes. “We spent a long time trying to figure out the order of who should perform, but LCP and BAM are easy to work with and really fun.”

“BAM was asked to do the event with LCP and Clefnotes,” said Paige Morrison, a senior BAM member. “Our dance routines were from the past semester dances, so nothing new was revealed before our upcoming shows.”

“Pirates Bust a Clef” started with BAM’s opening number, with the Pirates cheering them on and the crowd roaring in applause. The next performance came from LCP, who played three games; Four Square, Bachelor and Sniper. All three games made the audience laugh so much that they were crying. BAM then came back with a great performance, followed by Clefnotes performing seven songs back to back; Marvin Gay, Say You Won’t Go, Eleven Blocks, Say You Love Me, Counting Stars, Put Your Records On and Skinny Love.

The soloists captivated the crowd, including senior Krystal Livermore. “Most of their songs were really good,” she said, though she lamented one song where it was hard to hear the soloist.

LCP mixed some of their roles up, which threw Livermore off. “They mixed up the people who do their original skits. For example, in Sniper, Jonas [Maines] wasn’t the main guy like he usually is,” Livermore said.

“Pirates Bust a Clef” ended with Clefnotes singing Boondocks by Little Big Town and LCP and BAM joining them up on stage. Everyone was dancing and singing along; it was noticeable that both the audience and the performers had enjoyed their night.

Jonas Maines, a junior LCP member, believed the collaboration was a worthwhile experience. “It was a good experience to get three types of different artistic performances together,” he said. “It is to everyone’s benefit when three different styles come together to see what we all do.”

Livermore loved going to the event because she hasn’t been able to go to a Clefnotes showcase. “I loved the three in one because sometimes it’s hard to attend all of these events when we are so busy,” she said. “It was really great to get to see all three groups perform.”

Clefnotes Round Off A Strong Year With Upcoming Spring Performances

Clefnotes Round Off A Strong Year With Upcoming Spring Performances

By Angel Greer, Contributing Writer

The 2017 UMF Clefnotes. (Photo Courtesy of Zack Lavoie)

The 2017 UMF Clefnotes. (Photo Courtesy of Zack Lavoie)

UMF a capella group Clefnotes is growing and obtaining new opportunities and will soon perform in their 3rd Annual Celebration of Music and final concert, both to be held in Nordica Auditorium later this semester.  

Clefnotes recently held auditions this semester, with hopes of finding people to potentially add to their club.  They added four new members this semester, which is said to be a pretty large number for a spring semester. “Usually not a lot of people audition during the spring semester, since a lot of people audition during the fall semester,” said Vanessa Brown, member of Clefnotes. “But in past years they’ve had 85 people audition during one semester and then have like 25 people for callbacks.”  

“Being a new member of Clefnotes is awesome.  It’s awesome just because of the people in the group,” said Brown. “They’re all just so funny and everyone’s different in their own ways.”

Auditions consist of singing a 30 second snippet of a song that shows off a singer’s range to the rest of the club, so that that they can earn a callback. “A lot of people before they do anything that’s arts related, like music, theater, etc.,” said Brown, “have that kind of awkwardness and that insecurity about themselves so they go into something like music to help with their confidence.”

The group has had a strong year according to Clefnotes leader Zack Lavoie. “Our group is really cohesive this year. We have a lot of really talented people who have the drive to take the group to the next level,” said the senior. “Everyone has great attitudes and really wants to push each other to be the best we can,” said Lavoie.  

The singers have also been presented with new opportunities this year. “It’s really exciting to see how far the group has come. We were considered to sing with a band opening for Panic! At the Disco,” said Lavoie.  Although this gig didn’t pull through due to staging issues, they have also been asked to perform by groups from schools like Bowdoin, Colby, and UMO.

Students interested in hearing Clefnotes perform can find them at the a cappella showcase Celebration of Music on April 15 in Nordica Auditorium. In the same venue, they will round out the year and say goodbye to their seniors with their final concert on May 6.