For a capella group, a step into spotlight

Singchronize performed the national anthem at the Phillies game last Friday and was joined by the Phillie Phanatic. | ANDREW THAYER TTN
Singchronize performed the national anthem at the Phillies game last Friday and was joined by the Phillie Phanatic. | ANDREW THAYER TTN

They haven’t even reached the stadium, but the women of Singchronize are already singing.

Walking down Pattison Avenue toward the Phillies game where they sang the national anthem this past Friday, Ginny Laskowski, Tricia Kiehner and Veronica Miller hear Paramore’s “I’m Still Into You” drifting from XFINITY Live across the street. The three girls belt the lyrics in a harmony and stop for a selfie before continuing on with the crowds of fans heading to the ballpark.

Half an hour later, in the underbelly of Citizens Bank Park, the trio are joined by eight other members of the all-female student a cappella group Singchronize, harmonizing together – a chorus of burring lips, “Yayayas” and various scale warm-ups reverberated off the lockers of an empty men’s changing room, which they used to warm up.

Despite being the longest continually running a cappella group at Temple since its founding in 2002, Singchronize has not received the same amount of outside student recognition as names often associated with Temple’s growing a cappella community, like OwlCappella and Broad Street Line.

In discussing the preparations for its upcoming debut album, however, Laskowski, a senior strategic communications major and president of Singchronize, said the community has been supportive of the group’s efforts to heighten its profile. Kiehner, the musical director and a senior music education major, agreed that Main Campus is a positive atmosphere for the group.

“We’re all really involved with the a cappella community – we all have pretty strong bonds with the groups,” Kiehner said. “People are dating, people are best friends with each other, it’s really cool.”

Singchronize has 17 active members, seven of whom joined in the past year.  Each semester, members vote on 12 to 13 new songs to learn. Kiehner said Singchronize has a number of women who can sing from deeper vocal ranges, allowing for more musical variety in what they sing. In the past, the group has performed music by artists like The Beatles, Sara Bareilles, Regina Spektor and Adele.

Singchornize’s performance at Friday night’s Phillies game was the second time Laskowski and fellow senior and criminal justice major Meredith Moga stood in front of the crowd at Citizen’s Bank Park to sing the national anthem. The two students have had four-year a cappella careers with Singchronize.

“We were really anxious, it was a get-back-together type thing [over the summer],” Moga said of her first time singing at the stadium. “This time it’s a completely different group of girls. They have three years to continue and hopefully it becomes a tradition.”

For the first-timers, singing in front of the audience at the Phillies first home exhibition game on March 28 was an experience to remember.

“I wasn’t nervous until we got [on the field] and then it was like, ‘Gasp,’” Elena Sanchez, a sophomore music education major, said.

“I don’t think a lot of people can say they’ve sung the national anthem at a Major League Baseball game, so that’s pretty cool,” Steph Hirsch, a freshman journalism major, said.

The arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by Singchronize has been in the group’s repertoire for years and is tailored to its uniquely wide vocal range, Kiehner said, adding that the group has been practicing the song for a few weeks to prefect the different vocal parts.

“It’s not a hard arrangement, we all know the song, it’s just learning the harmonies,” Kiehner said.

Though Singchronize had been invited to perform at Phillies games in the past, its most recent appearance was more a stroke of luck, Kiehner said. Since the group was stuck on a two-to-three-year waiting list, Laskowski said she was completely surprised when she got a call from the ball club last week saying that a spot had opened for the preseason home opener.

Singchronize performed the national anthem at the Phillies game this past Friday. | Andrew Thayer TTN
Singchronize performed the national anthem at the Phillies game this past Friday. | Andrew Thayer TTN

In addition to performing at sporting events, Singchronize traveled to the White House during winter break to perform in the hallways during the annual holiday tour, a trip also taken by Broad Street Line, a well-known all-male a cappella group from Temple. While the singers of Singchronize agreed that there is a common bond between the groups at Temple, there is also a level of friendly competition.

The same day Singchronize was at the White House, Broad Street Line was given the audience of Barack and Michelle Obama.

Earlier this month, Singchronize performed in the current group’s first competition, a fundraiser at West Chester University for Camp Dreamcatcher, a nonprofit dedicated toward children affected by HIV/AIDS.

“We went into it like, ‘This will just be a fun performance opportunity,’” Laskowski said. “Once we got there we were like, ‘We gotta win, we gotta win.’”

Singchronize won first place, a prize of $600, at the fundraiser for their performances of “Because” by The Beatles and Carole King’s “A Natural Woman,” which will appear on its upcoming album.

Through an Indiegogo campaign and private fundraising this summer, the group raised $4,000 toward recording its new album. It is currently recording the album at Drexel University and expects to release it this spring.

John Moritz can be reached at john.moritz@temple.edu or on Twitter at @JCMoritzTU. 

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