Featured photo: Rhapsody members.
By Chantel Vereen
It all started in Beard Hall when a young transfer student went to their RA with a big idea in 2001. And now, 15 years later, we see the rising stars of York College’s own Rhapsody. The winner of first place at the 2014 Carlisle Glee Competition and the quarter finalists at the 2015 International Championships of A Cappella.
Everyone likes a good a cappella group, right? We cannot get enough of the “Pitch Perfect” franchise and we all enjoy an awesome beat boxer. This semester, Rhapsody will be opening its doors to new members of any major or background who love to sing their hearts out. Rhapsody creates an open atmosphere. It prides itself on being a student-run group to encourage participation from each member.
If you don’t know already, Rhapsody is the only student run a cappella group on this campus. Ranging songs from “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, this group does it all and they have a pretty large fan base too.
And the group’s success starts with an audition.
“It’s a pretty normal thing,” said Chris Betzler, a senior accounting major and president of Rhapsody. For the audition, potential members start out by singing a song of their choice, but then the process becomes more difficult.
“We conduct a sight reading portion where they actually sing with the group and the person must learn their own part while listening to the voice around them. We understand that it may be difficult,” said Betzler.
Even some current members came in inexperienced. “It’s all about confidence. That’s huge. We need people who are fearless. People who understand that it is better to try than to fail,” said music director Allison Hutchinson, a senior music industry and recording technology major.
If you have seen Rhapsody perform you know that they sing a lot of pop music. But that is not all they do. One of its most notable traits is their vast repertoire of genre choices.
“We have a lot of fresh new music this semester,” Hutchinson said. “We have eight new songs, which is a pretty big deal, because it is a bigger variety for the concerts and more songs to enjoy. And we are hoping to draw more of a crowd with fresh new music and a few of [the crowd’s] favorites from other semester concerts.”
One of their most famous concerts was brought up by DeJour Hood, a senior criminal justice major who is recognized as the outgoing, outspoken vocal percussionist within the group. “Since I’ve been in the group and even just being in the audience, the best concert we have had has got to be the Jail Theme,” a concert that Rhapsody had in the winter of 2014 that was based on a cops-and-robbers theme. “That was probably the biggest crowd that I have seen.”
On and off the stage, Rhapsody shows that they are more than just a group of performers.
“We are absolutely a family. We are so close that it is kind of scary,” Hutchinson jokes. “Everyone has taken up calling me ‘Mom’ in the last year.”
Hood added, “Everyone brings something to this group. You can pretty much count on me to make fun of someone, make crude jokes or probably hit you.”
What makes them so great?
“Our song selection, the music we bring, is always equivalent to who we truly are,” replied Hood.
“We have a particular essence and that’s who we are. Staying true to ourselves is the biggest thing,” Hutchinson said.