Hooshir A Cappella, a Jewish A Cappella group at IU, has started recording a CD that will come out by the end of this school year. IU students Siôn Shepley, Sydney Evans and Garrett Shuman said the CD will be composed of about eight tracks. Half will be religious covers and the other half will be mainstream covers.
“Music is medicine, and I want to share our music with as many people as possible,” Shuman said.
The group has received a $2,000 grant to record the CD from the Jewish studies department, Shuman said.
“It all adds up,” Shuman said. “We’re very, very grateful to the Jewish studies department.”
During a typical year, the group would be traveling to different synagogues to perform live. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that impossible, so instead Shuman said Hooshir A Cappella will set their eyes toward the recording studio.
The CD will take a full weekend to record, and Shuman and Evans said it could take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours each day.
“I’m ready to get started.” Evans said. “I really love the music that we’re doing and I love that the members of our group created the music, so it feels a little more personal.”
Shepley, Shuman and Evans said they are excited for this CD because of the work the group has put into it. Shuman said all of the arrangements for each song have been designed by a member of the group.
And as this is A Cappella music, there are no instruments — just voices.
“So someone has to go and rewrite all of those parts and ask, ‘How is the guitar part going to be sung by a human being without a guitar?’” Shuman said.
Shepley said trying to pick his favorite song on the album was like trying to choose a favorite child, but likes “Al HaNissim” the most because of how it connects him to the community.
”It's one we do a lot, so it’s easy to get tired of it,” Shepley said “But it almost feels like an assertion of our community.”
Shuman said Hooshir A Cappella releases an album about every four years. This year, the pandemic made it especially difficult to record. Shepley said the group had to take a hiatus when campus closed down for winter break.
The group’s rehearsals have also looked different this year. Evans said they were previously rehearsing in a member’s garage.
Even so, Evans said she did not mind the unorthodox rehearsal space.
“I’ve had a great time with it,” Evans said. “Doing it at someone’s house just feels a little more intimate.”
Now as the winter season has seized Bloomington, they are reportedly moving to rehearse in the IU Hillel, Evans said.
Along with physical copies, Shepley, Shuman and Evans said the group is also looking to stream the music on apps like Soundcloud and Spotify. Evans said all physical CD sales go to Hooshir A Cappella and the trips they plan to resume post-pandemic.