The Melismatics, a Lehigh acapella group, performed at the That's Mah Jam benefit contest Friday, March 20, 2015, in Lamberton Hall. The That's Mah Jam benefit raised money for Music is Medicine, an organization that pairs musical artists with pediatric patients, and collected canned goods for the Second Harvest Food Bank. (Margaret Burnett/B&W Staff)

Lehigh’s a cappella groups offer a range of musical options

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During their final concerts of the spring semester, Lehigh’s a cappella groups said goodbye to the 2015-16 school year with speeches and concert solos sung by seniors.

Echoes, Melismatics, A Whole Step Up and Off the Record each create music by singing without any instrumental accompaniment. Echoes is comprised of only female singers, A Whole Step Up is all-male, and both Melismatics and Off the Record are co-ed.

Although these groups sometimes perform at same concerts, they also focus on their own projects, improving and maintaining their selves and to their different audiences.

“I think (A Whole Step Up) provides a lot of comedic relief,” Oscar Gomez, ’18, said. “We don’t want to take ourselves too seriously. All the other groups sing great, and put a lot of hard work. That’s not to say that we don’t put a lot of hard work, but we want to have fun with the songs that we choose.“

Lehigh’s all-female group, Echoes, has been working hard. The group, which was founded in 2003, traveled to Lafayette College in February to perform their best and favorite songs.

“It was kind of like having a concert with all the groups here, but we performed with all of the Lafayette groups over there and it was really really fun,” Dana Heller, ’16, said.

The oldest a cappella organization on campus, Melismatics, worked particularly hard. Along with Off the Record, the Melismatics competed in the Intercollegiate A Cappella Competition this semester.

Carley Powers, ’19, shared their experience of winning first-place at the competition’s quarterfinals in Philadelphia.

“It was such a rush,” Powers said, describing the experience of winning first place at the Intercollegiate A Cappella Competition quarterfinals in Philadelphia. “The group has won quarterfinals before, but that was six years ago or so. We’d never gone past quarterfinals and it was really awesome. We got to perform with so many amazing groups at the biggest stage any of us had seen.”

Off the Record won fourth place at quarterfinals in the same intercollegiate competition. David Gunner Ebhomielen, ’18, said this year the group has made additions to their repertoire of ballads and upbeat songs.

“We’ve done a couple of rap songs this year which have been so fun and the crowd has seemed to respond very well to them,” Ebhomielen said.

Lehigh offers a wide range of a cappella options for potential members and audiences alike.

“I think a cappella adds a very unique entertainment value to campus because since there is four (groups), you get a different flavor of music from each group,” said Michael Boyson ’16, a member of A Whole Step Up.

The groups are fairly united, supporting each other and getting together several times a year.

“The people within a cappella are really friendly people,” Gomez said.

He said they hold get-togethers where members of different groups can intermingle.

Powers said when Melismatics won quarterfinals, the Off The Record group was supportive of their a capella counterparts.

“You couldn’t even tell the difference between our groups because we were all so happy,” she said.

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