OwlCappella, the co-ed a cappella group founded in 2010, shattered its fundraising goal of $6,000 this winter by 15 percent. Using the crowdfunding website Indiegogo as it did for its first EP, the group now has the funds to record its second, garnered from the support of 58 fundraisers.
The EP will drop on March 28, with the release concert taking place on March 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Rock Hall. The group will be selling the new CD as well as T-shirts. Guest groups from other colleges will perform alongside OwlCappella.
Five new members – Julian Castillo, Eric Braceland, Abigail Kelley, Monica Wilbur and Scotlyn Brewer – joined last fall. After the success of “Owl or Nothing,” OwlCappella’s first EP, the group has gained more popularity this year.
“We have proven ourselves able to produce a quality record,” Kevin Chemidlin, president of OwlCappella, said. “This surely contributed to the increase in support. This year, we’re offering T-shirts as a reward for donating towards our goal, so this time around there was even more incentive to contribute to the cause.”
Although the group is not involved with the competition circuit, Chemidlin hopes to enter OwlCappella into the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, which is the national a cappella competition featured in the movie “Pitch Perfect.”
OwlCappella already collaborates with a cappella groups from other schools often throughout the semester. As far as the competition between groups on campus, OwlCappella members agreed that it is entirely friendly.
“The groups are all friends and on great terms with each other, but each group’s success works to drive the other groups to strive to be better,” Chemidlin said. “We often help each other out. Some groups arrange songs for the other groups, and we seek out the other members’ opinions in order to sound our best.”
Broad Street Line, another a cappella group comprised of only male singers, got started in 2003. After celebrating its 10-year anniversary, BSL has released three CDs and its first recorded album, “No Girls Aloud,” available on iTunes and Loudr.
“Each group here on campus has their own style and makes the a cappella genre their own,” said Ryan Carlin, president of BSL. “BSL can be known for being a high-energy stage presence. We bring not only great musical moments to the forefront, but a great all-around entertainment to all of our shows.”
Carlin agreed with Chemidlin that there’s no drive to outdo other a cappella groups on campus, only to strive for continued success within their own club.
“We all have our niche,” Carlin said, referring to the many groups on campus. “An all-guy group being compared to an all-girl group is just hard, due to how extremely different they are, and the same can be said for the different co-ed groups we have – they are all still so different.”
Along with OwlCappella and BSL, an all-girl group called Singchronize is established at Temple.
“I think we all have some friendly rivalries, and what’s better than that?” Carlin said. “At some of our monthly serenades, jokes have been thrown from group to group and I think that’s fantastic. It’s always fun with that slight bit of edge or friendly competition because of the buildup, and then all of the groups end up sounding awesome, so it’s a blast regardless.”
BSL’s current agenda includes an end-of-the-semester spring concert, possibly held at the historic Arch Street Meeting House.
“At the end of each semester, we’re going to head back to the studio and lay down three tracks from that semester,” Carlin said. “We just finished recording three tracks from Fall 2013.”
With the groups dedicating considerable effort to recording and performing this semester, leaders of both older and newer groups agreed that Temple is a great place to sing and perform.
“We’re all incredibly grateful for the support we’ve received from the Temple community since the group’s creation in fall 2010,” Chemidlin said. “I’m one of only two people remaining, along with Jenn DiBartolomeo, who were members of the original group, so it’s very humbling to see how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.”
The success of a cappella groups on a college campus has a lot to do with the accessibility of singing without instruments, Carlin said.
“That’s the glory of our craft – no setup,” Carlin said. “We can just walk right in and sing for you all.”
Diana David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.