Crosstones, Take Note, Deansmen, ManOps, and The Merimanders are all popular names on campus. These ever-famous a cappella groups are shamefully notorious for providing musical entertainment for the Bates community at orientation events, Parents Weekend, and several other venues throughout the year.
On the weekend of September 12th, these groups held their annual auditions as they sought out new members to fill the voids left by the graduated seniors.
The audition process consists of singing a verse of the singer’s choice, a few vocal exercises, and allowing the groups to assess their recognition of harmonies and vocal agility. The second round consists of blending the voices these groups have chosen to bring to callbacks and further evaluating their ability to work with others in a musical setting.
Rebeccah Bassell ’16, the president of the only all female group at Bates, The Merimanders, explained in an interview, “It’s less of a focus on what gaps we need to fill and more so looking at the individual person’s voice and thinking that this is something special we could bring into the group.”
Talia Martino ’18 of Take Note commented, “There was definitely a shift in the group dynamic after we lost our seniors, Claire and Ben, because our group was such a tight unit. However, we were fortunate enough to gain some really talented singers with voices that blend really well with our sound. It is their personalities, though, that have made them perfect additions to our family.”
As the family theme is evident in all of the groups, Bassell added, “We need to think about who we want to be spending a lot of long hours with. I don’t think we could have gotten a better group of girls. Each one of them is so amazingly talented and brings something different to the Meris.”
Going into the audition process can be nerve-wracking and exciting for both the new singers and the groups seeking new members. While the talent of this year’s audition group resulted in some difficult decisions, the expectations were still unknown. Bassell said, “We were all so excited each time someone came in to sing for us. I didn’t know what to expect but I wanted to be open-minded about it. If you go in expecting a certain type of voice, you can be blindsided when you don’t find that. The plan of action was to go in and find people you can see fitting with the group vocally as well as with their personalities.”
Take Note had a slightly more specific voice in mind. “For the audition process, as a group we knew that we needed a stronger male sound, specifically bass singers,” Martino commented. “Other than that, we were really just going into the whole process excited to hear the talent that the Class of 2019 had to offer and hoping to find some amazing voices to add to our group!”
Both the Merimanders and Take Note have a lot to be excited for this coming year. “I think that this is going to be a strong year for Take Note. We have three incredible seniors and my number one goal is to make this their best year of a cappella,” Martino excitedly remarked. “We’re taking on some really fun songs with styles/genres that haven’t been done before in a cappella at Bates with new arrangements and I can’t wait for everyone to hear.”
Bassell said, “When we got our new Meri’s I was very, very happy because my goal as the president is to pass on that love and passion that I have for singing together and making something wonderful. I want to instill even more the excitement that we all have and pass on that joy.”
The Merimanders are currently in the process of producing a CD with some of their favorite songs performed in the past.
Every a cappella group on campus will be making their debut with their new members on Saturday, October 2nd during the Back to Bates weekend.