Friday, November 22, 2013

Fordham A Cappella: The Hot Notes

Today I present an easy, almost fool-proof way to make new friends at college: join a club.

There are a few ways to approach your first semester at college. You can dabble in one or two clubs while focusing on your schoolwork. Others might avoid the club scene altogether until they've established good grades. I, for one, cannonballed straight into Fordham student life. During my first semester I performed in back-to-back productions with Rose Hill's main-stage theater group, The Mimes and Mummers, in addition to joining an a cappella group. 

Performance groups are highly time-consuming, and I may have slightly burnt out, but I don't regret my crazy schedule from that fall. Why? Because it led me to my first family at Fordham: The Hot Notes.

The Hot Notes, Spring 2013. That's me in the first row, second from the left.
We're pretty good-looking. Hence Hot Notes. Ha ha. Ha.

I've always identified more as an actor than a singer. I expected to devote most of my extracurricular life at Fordham to theater, just like I did in high school. Don't misunderstand me; I loved my experience with the Mimes, and I still regularly perform in productions with Fordham's various theater groups. But I certainly didn't expect to fall in love with a cappella in the way that I did.

A quick overview of Fordham a cappella: We have a five a cappella groups between the two campuses, four of which are at Rose Hill. The Ramblers (who I will never not call our resident boy band) are all men, the Satin Dolls are Fordham's all-female group, and the B-sides, like the Hot Notes, are co-ed. A third co-ed a cappella group, the F#s, are based at Lincoln Center.

The Hot Notes are the newest group at Rose Hill, founded in 2012. We're babies, really. But in the short time since we began, we've become known for our unmistakable blend, our complex arrangements, and our jazzy sound. 

Although we're a jazz-based group, we also play around with contemporary songs, whether that means singing them as is or giving them a retro spin. For example, we performed "Thrift Shop" this past spring, true to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's sound, but next month we'll be singing a vintage version of "Don't You Worry Child."

We push ourselves even farther each semester. This fall, we auditioned for the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (the competition made famous by the movie Pitch Perfect) for the first time. A week ago today, we discovered we'd been accepted. On top of that, we're scheduled to attend and perform at the New York City Jazz Festival at Lincoln Center in April. 

What struck me about the Hot Notes was the balance between fun and commitment. I met the silliest, funniest kids in Hot Notes, but everyone was also dedicated to becoming a better a cappella group and, to my pleasant surprise, better individual musicians. They had fun, but they knew how to get work done. When Executive Board elections came around, I knew I wanted to help this group develop and sharpen its vision. The Hot Notes are ever growing as a club. I'm constantly proud of everything we do. It's exhilarating to be part of a group that has come so far, and yet continues to leap forward. 

Most importantly, though, the Hot Notes made me feel comfortable--a rare feeling during my first semester at college As an introvert, I'm thankful whenever I meet someone who instantly makes me feel welcome. It take me longer than most to feel comfortable enough to be myself around others. It's fitting that Thanksgiving is next week because the Hot Notes are one of the things I'm most thankful for at Fordham. They gave me, a shy and unsure freshman, somewhere to belong. 

For more information about us, check out our Facebook or official website. Performances from our most recent concert, #HotNotes, are also available on our Youtube channel. Here are just two of my favorite numbers. (Make sure to watch in HD!)

 We wanted to collaborate with our friends at the Fordham Jazz Collective,  and so 
this number was born.  The Jazz Collective are the fellows accompanying us in 
this video. I know, I know, it's not a cappella. But it was one of the most fun 
(and in some ways, funny--see 3:58) songs to perform at our show!

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