MACFest unites all in a shared passion for music

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 8:44pm

It seems as though a capella and campus culture have been intertwined for as long as anyone can remember. And with an ever growing pop culture presence in shows like “Glee” and movies like “Pitch Perfect,” the popularity of this activity increasingly gets more and more popular. But with so many different groups on campus, and with so much going on within each one, it’s hard for someone not in the scene to get a feel for each individually.

That’s where MACFest comes in.

MACFest is a one night event featuring 15 a capella groups. Hosted by the Michigan a capella Council, these performances are some of the first for these groups and their new members  for the 2017-18 school year. And although there are three main MAC events throughout the years, MACFest proves to be unique because it give the public a look at what each group has to offer.

The Michigan A Capella Council is home to the different student-run a capella groups on campus, each with their own personality, culture and style. While some groups are gender exclusive, the majority of the groups on campus are coed. Some groups even have religious themes behind them. But why so many independent groups if everyone is doing the same activity?

Each a capella group in the Council may be connected through a mutual love of performing, where each group has its own special something and its own unique tradition behind that. The University of Michigan has one of the oldest and richest histories of collegiate a capellas in the United States. Although not directly associated with the a capella scene, the University of Michigan Men’s Glee club, one of the University’s most prestigious organizations, was founded in 1859. Even with this rich history of vocal groups on campus, there are always new ensembles being formed. The Sirens, one of the newest all-female groups on the MACC, just formed last year.

Although they’re connected through a mutual love of performing, however, each group has its own style of performing.  

“The types of music that we sing is kind of really just based on our own interest,” said Kallen Schwark, President of the Michigan A Capella Council. “My group, for example, listens to a bunch of alternative music as well as pop music, so we tend to arrange music of all different genres.”

Even though they may not be branded as such, each one has its own musical personality that sets it apart from the other 14 groups.

Despite the differences between groups, “it’s a tight-knit community,” Kallen said. Even when the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella comes around, “we’re (a cappella groups) supportive as possible of each other. Other groups will come and watch other groups’ performances, even if they’re going up against each other.” For every group, the activity of making a cappella music allowed for friendships to begin and for new experiences to be gained.

Since then, a capella groups have been a significant part of this University’s culture, and although each group stands out from one another, they all originated for the same reason: passion. These groups are entirely student run and require an incredible amount of time and energy to keep going. But, the combined love for this activity is something that constantly pushes these groups to grow and to flourish.

A capella is one of those things that you can’t help but love. When you see a group get on stage and do a special rendition of a song you know all the words to, it’s hard not to smile and sing along. Music has that effect on people, and when you see a group of truly passionate people doing what they love, it’s like nothing else.