The Lehigh Melismatics, Lehigh’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, will jump from performing in Lamberton Hall to Radio City Music Hall on Saturday, Nov. 16.
The group will open for the Radio City Rockettes at a performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for the second year in a row, the night after it will perform a fall concert, ‘An Intoxicating Mix,’ on Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. Lamberton Hall.
The group has been preparing for both performances simultaneously, learning Christmas music for Radio City and music for the fall concert.
While preparing, the group also released a studio album, “Reincarnation,” which had been in the works for over three years.
Each week the Melismatics hold two rehearsals — two and three hours each — to prepare for upcoming performances. The rehearsal process involves teaching music to the group, auditioning for solos and memorizing songs.
“It really shows everyone’s commitment and that they really want to be there,” said Bea Prats, ‘20, the group’s business manager. “It’s a huge chunk of our time spent in rehearsal together.”
This year, seven new members joined the Melismatics, bringing additional energy to the 19-person group.
“Our rehearsal environment is better than it ever has been before,” said Jack Wheatley, ‘20, the group’s music director. “Everyone’s excited to be in rehearsal—we’re learning music faster than we ever have at this time in a given year.”
In 2018, a talent manager at Radio City Music Hall discovered the Melismatics’ YouTube channel and asked the group to open for the Rockettes at a performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Prats said the group is looking forward to doing this performance again, as it’s an opportunity that they’re always going to remember.
“It’s always a big project to undertake,” Prats said. “We’re performing on one of the biggest stages in the world, which is something that other people just can’t say.”
In addition to these upcoming concerts, the Melismatics will compete in the Varsity Vocals’ International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs) for the ninth time this spring. At this competition, the Melismatics will compete against other Lehigh a cappella groups, as well as groups from other universities.
For the eight seniors, these upcoming performances are their last concerts with the Melismatics.
Casey Durso, ‘20, said this is a bittersweet moment for her. She said she can’t wait to sing alongside people who have become her closest friends over the past four years on one of the most renowned stages in the world.
“You look back on when you got here freshman year, and you think about how much everyone has grown as a person and also as a musician,” Durso said.
Wheatley said being a part of the Melismatics has given him a creative outlet to make a mark on the world around him. This experience is something he said he will not find outside of college.
Durso said she is also going to miss the group and how close they’ve grown over the past few years.
“I can say that the majority of my closest friends are in this group, and I think that’s just because we all are on the same page in terms of music, and what it means to build a community and a sense of family,” Durso said.
However, after graduation, these seniors will have the opportunity to sing together again. The Melismatics hold an alumni concert every five years, at which they perform songs from years past. Prats said it is comforting to know she’ll have a chance to sing with the group again.
The Lehigh Melismatics’ latest album, “Reincarnation,” can be heard on Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud.