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Celebrating with an a cappella party

  • ACTIVITIES
Celebrating with an a cappella party

Junior Clarissa Chen has always found her identity in singing. This year, she is one of the three leaders of Guacapella, the Saint Francis a cappella club, and she loves singing because it has shaped who she is as an individual. She is comfortable meeting new people and taking risks, two skills that come directly from being a singer.

When the pandemic forced performing groups to cancel in-person concerts, Clarissa wanted to organize a community event where she could uplift audiences and continue to sing. Her efforts resulted in “Acaparty!(passcode: .az0pRZ#), a virtual a cappella festival that featured four high schools in a celebration of music. 

“I'm a very big dreamer, and I had this calling to do something with a cappella,” she said. “It's been a really hard year, and I felt it was important to have a place to make music together.”

Clarissa invited several high school a cappella groups. In addition to Guacapella and Glee Club from Saint Francis, the performing groups were Fortissibros (Bellarmine College Prep), A Choired Taste (Nueva School) and Laker Express (West Bloomfield, Mich.). The concert was held on May 7, and the experience exceeded Clarissa’s expectations. Each group prerecorded a video that was played at the concert, and she served as the live MC. About 100 people tuned in, and in excitement for each performance, audience members provided positive messages in the chat.

“That was a cool aspect of the virtual concert. When you see a concert in person you just hear claps and in a way this support felt much more personal,” Clarissa said.

In addition to hearing lovely voices blended together, Clarissa said she is walking away from this experience with many new friendships made. Two nights before the concert, she held a social hour that allowed the singers to get to know each other better. 

“A bunch of the West Bloomfield kids from Michigan came, and we had a really great time bonding with them. It was a great connection and we're leaving as friends,” she said. The social hour went so well that she used highlights from it for the final performance of the concert, “Dreams” sung by Guacapella.
 

The event was a culmination of her skills that ranged from designing invitations, using her network to create buzz, editing the videos and running the event with confidence that comes with being a performer. 

“I really looked up to the upperclassmen that ran Guacapella previously and others who made the choir and music program here special. It was a special opportunity to take a leadership position and make my own impact on the group and music program. I hope this carries on as a legacy, and I'm already thinking about in person possibilities for next year,” said Clarissa.

“I really looked up to the upperclassmen that ran Guacapella previously and others who made the choir and music program here special. It was a special opportunity to take a leadership position and make my own impact on the group and music program. I hope this carries on as a legacy, and I'm already thinking about in person possibilities for next year,” said Clarissa.