Behind the Song: A Cappella Groups

Katie Lin and Stephanie Wan

The a cappella groups at Lexington High School have grown into tight-knit communities through their countless rehearsals, performances, and practice sessions. The next performance in which all of the LHS a capella groups will perform is the Fall Jam on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. It is the first “Jam” of the year and, consequently, the first “Jam” for new group members.

However, a cappella is not just about performances; for many, it’s also a family. Aria Rana, a senior in the group “Guacamole”, recounts transferring to LHS when school was fully virtual, and how the a cappella community was especially important to her.

“I thought that I was going to be introduced to a group that was just, ‘Work, work, work. Music, music, music’ all the time… But then, actually being a part of Guac, [I realized] that it’s just as much about friendship, bonding, and engaging with each other… From knowing absolutely no one in the entire school and trying to create connections over Zoom, I had a group of 15 new sisters, and they’ve honestly become my family,” Rana said.

Each a cappella group has its own traditions and builds their community.

“After every Jam, we go to this ice cream place in Arlington called Scoop N Scootery, [at] 2 a.m.,” Meghana Sen, a sophomore in the group “Mixed Nuts,” said.

Similarly, Guacamole also has a tradition called Guac Closet, where the group members trade clothes.

“I remember one time my freshman year, one of the seniors, Linda, took one of my shirts. And I saw her, in two weeks, wearing the shirt, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s my shirt’…We just have so many pieces that are passed down literally through six years. Every year it shows up and someone new has to take it. I feel like that’s so special,” Kerr said.

It is through moments like these that the groups become closer.

“We were once shy…and then all of a sudden, [we’re] telling everyone about what’s happening in our lives. It’s so heartwarming,” Amanda Tran, a junior in Guacamole, said.

However, balancing the social and rehearsal aspects of a cappella can be challenging, especially since the program is student-led.

“It can sometimes be hard to distinguish between friendship and leadership, and when you’re talking to someone, are you talking to them as a leader or as a friend?…It can be hard to find that balance [since] we do actually have to get work done at some point,” Kerr said.

Getting work done is especially important at this time of year, since groups have a limited time to prepare for the upcoming Jam.

“With a new group, first of all, it’s already a little bit more difficult to learn music together. And having that less time means there’s a lot of grinding that needs to be done for Fall Jam,” Rana said.

The a cappella groups are working hard, rehearsing twice a week for two hours each rehearsal. But that’s not to say it can’t still be fun.
“A cappella is a huge commitment, but it’s worth every second, just learning everything together and learning about everyone as a person,” Tran said.

Mrigank Dhingra, a sophomore in the group “Noteworthy”, shares similar sentiments.

“Rehearsals are mostly really chill. You practice the music but you also take breaks, you talk to people, you eat food. It’s a really nice bonding experience…There’s no competition… [We’re] fostering support for one another, and within a specific group everyone has really close friends because you’re seeing them for four hours a week,” Dhingra said.

As for advice, Dhingra tells prospective a cappella members to have fun during the audition process.

“It’s not stressful and it’s a really fun environment to be in. So if you’re thinking about auditioning, then you should definitely go for it,” Dhingra said.