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a picture of an acapella group in KDE house smiling at camera

This past week, I had an acapella show with my group, the Rockapellas, and I'd like to take this opportunity to share what acapella is like at Dartmouth College! 
Acapella is a staple in US college life, and Dartmouth College is no exception! There are eight acapella groups: three all-male identifying, three all-female identifying, and two co-ed—that's plenty for a campus of Dartmouth's size. Students typically get their first exposure to the acapella groups during their orientation week before school starts, where each group performs in an acapella showcase. That's where I first saw acapella at Dartmouth, and although I hadn't considered joining an acapella group in college before I got here, I found the showcase to display a fun group of people. 
Auditions occur early in the fall over a weekend, and I decided to shoot my shot, even though I hadn't ever sung in a choir or group in high school—I just liked to sing. Sure enough, after a late night of singing, I ended up in the Rockapellas! The rest is history. 
Unlike some acapella groups at larger schools, the acapella groups at Dartmouth stay within Dartmouth's ecosystem; they don't usually compete in collegiate competitions. Most acapella shows occur within Greek houses, as those are the spaces most available for casual shows; dance and comedy groups also perform in these. I initially found performing in fraternity and sorority houses strange, but singing in these houses has a party-like vibe, where friends watch shows to "hype up" their performing friends, and groups are singing/dancing to have fun. Although I only spend limited time engaging in Greek life, I appreciate the casual venues for the fun they can bring. 
Each acapella group is unique, and I appreciate the spin that my group puts on the acapella ecosystem in the school; we're particularly interested in a capella as a form of sharing social awareness through song. As a result, some of the songs we perform relate to a specific social/cultural issue, and we discuss these songs during rehearsals. I, for one, am interested in widening our repertoire through more acapella arrangements to explore more issues, from Native American rights to environmental protection to immigrant stories. When it is tempting to avoid political topics, music can offer a buffer of enjoyment for listeners to truly address the song's message. 
There are so many more extracurricular activities at Dartmouth College than acapella and other performance groups, of course! But acapella has, over time, become a large part of my Dartmouth experience, and it's been fun.

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