An unauditioned a cappella group is likely to be formed in the new term by the President of the University of St Andrews’ A Cappella Society and member of the Alleycats, Andrew Adam. The newly elected head of a cappella at the university spoke to me over a couple of beers at the Doctor’s Bar in Edinburgh during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
UACUK: Hey Andrew. How are you enjoying the Fringe?
AA: I love it. We [The Alleycats] have been here for two weeks this year, rather than just the one, so we’ve been properly exposed to the Fringe Experience. I’ve also been in a musical since the start of the Fringe, so I’ve been here the whole time. It’s been really great.
UACUK: Tell us about the plans for a cappella next year at St Andrews.
AA: In some ways it’s going to be the same old same old: we’ll have a Christmas Concert in December, take part in the Voice Festival UK in March, and then each group will have their own public or private gigs. Obviously, this year we were lucky to have the Royal Wedding Breakfast in St. Salvator’s Quad, which was great publicity for all of us, but I don’t think anything like that will be happening this year. But I feel we have to progress in some way, so I’d like to introduce more gigs with all the groups together, and even bring groups like Choral Stimulation [of Glasgow University] and the Forget-Me-Nots [of Edinburgh University] to perform with us.
UACUK: Why do you want to create an unauditioned group then?
AA: Yeah, well I feel there are a lot of people at the university who really enjoy a cappella but who never really get the chance to do it themselves, whether it be because they get turned down by the other groups or don’t have the nerve to audition in the first place, and I think an unauditioned group would be a great way for these sorts of people to experience a cappella and improve their musical skills.
UACUK: What kind of events would you aim to perform at?
AA: I think at first it would take time to be ready for concerts. We would hope to perform at the Christmas Concert and even at the Voice Festival, but perhaps not compete – instead, we could act as a “guest group” and perform while the judges are totting up the scores. I think that would again take the pressure off the performers and keep the group as a more informal, light-hearted group. It would be nice to do some other functions too, if we get invited.
UACUK: Are there any other initiatives you’re hoping to implement?
AA: It could be cool to have guest MDs from the other four a cappella groups getting involved, to not only bring a variety of sounds to the group but also bring the groups at the university closer together. On a separate note, I’d like to try and spread the word of a cappella around some of the other universities in the UK – thanks to Out of the Blue doing Britain’s Got Talent and The Other Guys’ video on YouTube, collegiate a cappella in the UK is growing in reputation, and it can’t be long before other universities want to get involved. I say, the more the merrier!
UACUK: Thanks Andrew. Enjoy the rest of the Fringe!
The Alleycats are performing at 4.45 until 29th August at C Venues on Chambers Street.