MAC and WAC light up assembly with newly arranged music

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Photo credit Olivia Hewitt

The men’s and women’s’ a cappella groups both took new paths this year, straying slightly from their tried-and-true classics by singing brand new melodies in their concert during assembly on Friday, Nov. 4.

“We have a lot of new songs we’re doing,” said junior Sandy Sharis. “Two classics, and the rest are new ones.”

Women’s a cappella, WAC, performed their classic numbers “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Always Be My Baby,” while men’s a cappella, MAC, opted for only one classic this year, “For the Longest Time.”

Mixing up their selection is significant to both groups.

“It’s important to add some new songs to our repertoire each year so we can explore different kinds of music,” said junior Matthew Greene. “There are, of course, some songs we love to sing and keep from year to year, but I think it’s important to keep our repertoire fresh.”

Members of both MAC and WAC have been arranging songs for years, but with each incoming class, new students try their hand at the skill.

This year, the new songs were added to the WAC’s selections by junior Maggie Norsworthy, junior Anna Silverstein, and Sharis, arranging “Mercy” by Duffy, “Cowboy, Take Me Away” by the Dixie Chicks, and “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, respectively.

“On the software, you hear the song as weird noises called ‘vocal noises,’ so I put it on piano because it’s easier to hear. It’s very different and interesting to see how our voices sound with it,” said Sharis. “Arranging is a fun experience and learning how to teach a song is cool, too.”

MAC has also added a lot of music to their collection lately.

“We just sang a couple of our new songs,” said senior Ford Lindsay, one of the MAC leaders. “We’ve got some more coming through the year, but we haven’t really decided on all of them yet.”

While MAC only sang one song out of their “Big Three” (which includes the songs “For the Longest Time,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” and “Good Ol’ A’Cappella”), they added “House of the Rising Sun,” “One Headlight,” “Come Go With Me,” and “White Blank Page” to their program.

“I just really want to show the school that we’re back,” said Lindsay, “because last year was kind of a swing and a miss.”

Despite the new aspects of WAC and MAC, both groups still hold tradition close to heart.

“Everyone knows ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ is a WAC favorite,” said one of the WAC leader, senior Caroline James. “We’re also trying to bring back some of the songs WAC has sung in past years, but that’s not working too well.”

While keeping the classic songs alive is key, MAC has put a different spin on the term “tradition.”

“The main tradition is just showing that a bunch of guys from all sorts of sides of the social spectrum can come together and have fun singing,” said Lindsay, “which a lot of people would think is stupid, but we’re all having fun with it.”

The relationship between MAC and WAC is one tradition that has stayed strong throughout the years.

“We’re still having fun messing with WAC on a daily basis, like usual,” said Lindsay. “It’s not as tense as in past years, but they always get mad at us for messing with them.”

The affection within the groups is especially powerful this year.

“We’re a really tight-knit group, probably the most fun group I’ve ever been in, probably the best sounding group I’ve ever been in,” said Lindsay. “I’m very proud to be leading these guys.”

There is a similar warmth and fondness among WAC.

“It’s a great group dynamic,” said James. “Some years there’s been some tension between the girls, but I really don’t feel that this year.”

The assembly was only a preview into this year’s a cappella repertoire, and many songs still await the audience.

WAC has another classic or two tucked under its belt, while two-thirds of MAC’s “Big Three” have yet to be heard so far.

The Westminster community can look forward to another year of great a cappella music, both traditional and contemporary.