A cappella balances work and play, hits all the right notes


Solid & Sound performs the national anthem at the Race for Respect in D.C. June 1. Solid & Sound is one of Whitman’s three student-run a cappella groups. Photo courtesy Matthew Millin.

By Afsoon Movahed

It’s rehearsal time, and every member of Whitman’s male a cappella group, Solid & Sound, seems to have arrived at the choir room to practice. One by one, members split into four different warm-up groups: the tenor ones, tenor twos, base ones and base twos. When all members are confident with their parts, everyone reunites and runs through the piece together.

Whitman is home to three student-run a cappella groups. In addition to Solid & Sound, there’s Pitch Please, which is all-female, and NOTA, which is co-ed. All three groups perform inside and outside of school, whether it’s singing the national anthem at Wizards games or performing in the talent show. Annual performances at school include the Winter Concert, Festival of the Arts and the Music Booster Kickoff.

Student leaders plan rehearsals, choose music, find events and venues to perform at, pick group members and moderate productivity and spirit at rehearsals.

“I have been a part of the group for a couple of years, and singing has always been a big part of my life,” said junior Matthew Millin, who will lead Solid & Sound next year. “I really appreciate what the previous leaders have done for me and the group. I wanted to give that back.”

Junior Caroline Muir, who will lead Pitch Please next year, hopes to bring Pitch Please to Children’s National hospital so they can sing to the patients. Balancing annual events with searching for new ones is important, she said.

“Pitch Please is super close to our hearts,” Muir said. “We still plan on doing rehearsals every week and finding more events to perform at.”

Group dynamic is also a high priority. When the groups get together on stage and bond, they feed off of each other’s energy.

“Throughout the course of the year, you can hear in our performances how in- sync we gradually become,” next year’s Pitch leader Maddie Menkes, who is a junior, said.

Pitch Please hopes to create a “sisterhood” with its new members through team bonding exercises like barbecues and karaoke nights .

NOTA’s team dynamic will be structured and productive, NOTA leader Brynn O’Connor said. But while everyone will work hard all year, the leaders still want with members to form friendships.

 Solid & Sound goes about forming their group dynamic with similar goals, Millin said.

“This year, Solid & Sound had a lot of fun,” he said. “We goofed around, but there was a good balance between that, caring about the group and working really hard to be the best that we can be.”

When seniors left at the end of the year, saying goodbye was difficult. Group members grow close, and by the end of each season, the students are good friends, NOTA leader Ally Mandell said.

“At at the beginning of the year, we had a few awkward rehearsals,” she said. “But, at our last meeting, we were practically crying because we didn’t want to let go.”