A cappella (Italian, literally “in the style of the chapel”) refers to singing without instrumental accompaniment. Traditionally, many church choirs and religious services involve a cappella singing. Collegiate and modern a cappella as a genre, however, can take this a step further--using voices to emulate the missing instrumental music in the background. Vocal percussion, or the use of voices to imitate drums, cymbals and other percussive noises, is also often found in modern a cappella.
In short, today “a cappella” often refers to an all-vocal performance of any style, including barbershop, doo wop, and modern pop/rock (Mixed Company’s genre of choice).2. I want to join Mixed Company, but I’ve never sung before.
In Mixed Company, we value diversity... just like McDonald’s, Stanford and all those other multi-million dollar operations do. There are many different roles to fill in Mixed Company (hereafter referred to as “the Co”), and our members’ experience levels vary immensely. Members range from those with years of group singing experience to ZERO. The bottom line is, if you enjoy singing and want to try something new, try out! We do not judge based on a resume. It’s all you. Give it a shot.
The Co is looking for singers in every voice part (Soprano, Mezzo, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass, and then some), and vocal percussionists, to join our group and perform onstage. And even if you just can’t see yourself onstage, we want you! We rely on the help of those less theatrically-inclined: drivers, cheerleaders, fans, donors, and of course customers.3. I don’t know what voice part I am...help!
During your audition we will test your range to see what voice part you fit best, and call people back according to their voice part. People have been surprised to find that they’ve been singing soprano all their lives and are called back as an alto, etc. Don’t worry about it. We promise you sound fabulous.4. What might boost my chances of getting in?
A few things: practice your audition song in advance — in front your friends, dormmates, the empty staircase. It will help you feel more comfortable performing it in front of us. Also, talk to us and ask us questions! This won’t actually boost your chances, per se, but if the faces in the room are familiar to you, your audition won’t seem so scary. (Though really, auditions are fun! We promise!) And finally, it can help to drink some water and/or sing some scales beforehand. We will warm you up, but a little extra preparation on your part doesn’t hurt. And if you want to be really careful, don’t drink milk or eat dairy products before you sing.5. How big of a time commitment is Mixed Company?
As mentioned before, Mixed Co is always busy. You may have been told that having a relationship or playing a sport is the equivalent of 4-5 units... and being in the Co will likely have similar demands on your time. We rehearse 7-10 hours per week, and more if we are preparing for an upcoming show or gig.
But wait! Don’t panic. We do take individual schedules into consideration, and try to make compromises. Mixed Co was founded on the idea that music and fun are by no means mutually exclusive, and your time with The Co will include both.
And really, who doesn’t want a convenient excuse (such as rehearsal) to put off a PWR paper by another two hours?6. Can I support Mixed Co even if I don’t get in?
Absolutely! As mentioned before, we rely on the help of fans and friends to help us perform at our best. We are always in need of help finding and arranging transportation to gigs, publicizing events, and (of course) we want you in the audience to cheer us on!7. What kind of events do you guys participate in?
Besides looking fabulous and singing like angels, Mixed Co keeps a busy calendar. There are two major Mixed Co concerts every year: Love Sucks, our anti-Valentine’s Day show, and Spring Show. In addition to this, we put on joint shows with visiting groups, do paid gigs on campus and throughout the Bay Area, perform at two huge, all-inclusive a cappella concerts (O-Show and ProFroShow), participate in the annual Big Sing that celebrates the rivalry between Cal and Stanford, and sing for our parents and alums at informal get-togethers. We have been also been known to appear in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs).
Every other year, Mixed Company goes on a tour somewhere outside California. On our last tour, we went to Boston and performed at schools like Northeastern and Boston College to soak up the a cappella culture while accomplishing our "service-through-singing" objective by singing at retirement homes, a YMCA, and 826Boston tutoring center. This year, we will be recording an album - our 13th - a project which, while challenging, is incredibly rewarding.
But the Co isn’t all work. We play hard, too. We go on one incredible retreat per quarter and organize parties and social events with other a cappella groups. In other words, we are a tight-knit family, and we really hope to share that with you this year.8. Can you perform my songs and/or arrangements?
Absolutely! Well, probably.
Anyone in the group can arrange and write music (and skits) for the group to perform. If you have a passion for putting notes together on paper as well as singing them, you will have tons of opportunities to do both in the context of the Co, and provided the group agrees with your choice, are perfectly welcome to arrange a song you would like us to perform. In fact, we might just want to keep you for life.
Now, if you are not a group member, feel free to suggest the song to someone who is and it will be taken into consideration during our next round of song selection.
If you are a potential customer who would really, really like to hear us perform a certain song, feel free to send us your suggestion via our contact form, and we will try to work with you to meet your needs.