As the home of one the most prestigious music schools, IU also houses several a cappella groups, each vying for its own slice of the campus’ attention. But tonight, that attention will all swing toward Hooshir, a mixed Jewish choir that won a city-wide competition for the chance to perform alongside Vocalosity at 7:30 p.m. in the IU Auditorium.
“The competition really motivated us more than scared us because when we had a goal to work toward, we really just got down to business,” Hooshir soprano and music director Becky Mann said. “At the end of the day, competition is good — it actually helps our sound and this is going to be our biggest show of the year.”
Vocalosity’s artistic director Deke Sharon is known for arranging music in the film “Pitch Perfect” and even as the “father of contemporary a cappella,” according to the group’s website.
Vocalosity is currently on its tour Vocalosity: the Aca-Perfect Concert Experience with singers from Broadway, the Radio City Rockettes and NBC’s “The Sing Off.” At each of the tour’s stops, local a cappella groups can compete to earn the show’s coveted opening spot, according to the website.
Upon seeing a flyer advertising the competition, Mann said she arranged three pop songs into a mashup and submitted a YouTube video of the group singing it to enter. While Mann said the group often performs Hebrew or Israeli songs, this particular arrangement showcased the singers’ diverse skill set.
As the selected winner, Hooshir will get to open tonight’s concert, but Mann said the group is also excited to meet the Vocalosity performers.
“We have a lot of people who want to pursue music, whether it’s Broadway or the recording industry, so I think spending time with the group will show what it’s like in the professional world,” Mann said. “A cappella, compared to the general music industry, is a really small field but it’s a really strong one, so spending time with these performers is super inspiring to see what we can do.”
Kelli Koloszar, one of the Vocalosity sopranos, said like the Hooshir performers, many of the Vocalosity singers have interests across the music industry spectrum.
“The producers and the creative team really wanted to find a mix of people,” Koloszar said. “I would say only half really have a collegiate a cappella background, but as far as singing goes, singing is singing, and if you have a passion for it, you can make a career out of it.”
Because Koloszar said she was a musical theater major in college, she had no intentions or goals to pursue a career in a cappella singing. Nevertheless, when she saw the chance to audition for the group, she said she knew it was the right path for her to take.
“I love harmony and I can learn it quickly because I’m a nerd like that, so it was perfect for me,” she said. “It wasn’t something I ever planned — it’s hard enough going to school for any kind of arts whether its music or singing because you aren’t always sure what path you can take and you can’t always make a plan.”
Because the performance gives college students the opportunity to see what a professional music career is like after graduation, Koloszar said she hopes it inspires them to pursue their own dreams.
“Oh man, don’t give up,” she said. “You’re not always going to be right for everything and sometimes you won’t get something, but that’s just because something better is waiting. Keep going.”