One of the things that drew me to Notre Dame was that it was a very musical campus. On my two visits to ND as a high schooler, I was awed by the a cappella performances put on by students just a few years older than me.
Joining an a cappella group seemed like such a fun, quintessentially “college” thing to try, so my freshman year, I signed up for auditions with multiple groups at the Activities Fair. I almost backed out of auditions because I was so nervous about having to sing by myself, but thankfully my mom convinced me to go for it — what better time than freshman year to push yourself out of your comfort zone? Though I started off by almost canceling my auditions, now I’m the president of one of ND’s a cappella groups!
Since each group has a unique sound and vibe, it’s important to find the right fit for you. Here’s a little bit about all the different a cappella groups on campus:
I’ll start off with the one closest to my heart: Unchained Melodies is a Christian group that uses music to live out our faith. We create our own arrangements for a variety of contemporary Christian songs and uplifting pop music. Some of my favorite events are our retreat (a fun group bonding experience) and our annual tour (where we sing at different nursing homes and homeless shelters throughout a Midwestern city). I joined Unchained Melodies because I loved the way that each song we perform has a message and because I could tell that the members were so genuine and fun! As the president this year, I’m so excited to watch how our group continues to grow.
Halftime is a co-ed group that will wow you with their talented vocalists. They’ve performed at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs), released live recordings from their concerts, and even were nominated for Best Mixed Collegiate Music Video by the Contemporary A Cappella Society. They just released their newest EP Comeback in January. Give it a listen here!
The Echoes are an all-gender group that performs at a variety of fundraisers, concerts, charity events, the ICCAs and more. They sing popular music ranging from Adele to FINNEAS. Listen to their 2021 EP The Echoes here!
Encore is the most recent addition to the a cappella scene on campus, and they’re already putting on polished performances. Founded in 2019, Encore! is a subset of Chorale, the university’s official concert choir — so it is only open to students who are already a member of Chorale.
Harmonia is an all-female group with powerful vocals. As their website says, “We sing anything and everything, from Sinatra to Rihanna, from Queen to Fergie.” During my first visit to Notre Dame, I saw them singing the fight song in the bookstore, and I often re-watched the video of that performance when I wanted to relive the magic of my campus visit.
The Undertones are a subset of Notre Dame’s Glee Club. This all-male group has stunning arrangements. During my Reilly Spring Visit Weekend, I got to see them perform at ACA 3, an intercollegiate a cappella concert, where I thoroughly enjoyed their energetic performance of Lady Gaga and Beyonce's “Telephone.”
Bellacappella is St. Mary’s contribution to the a cappella scene. Its members auditioned from the Women’s and Collegiate Choirs. Bellacappella can always be counted on to put on performances of popular music that the whole crowd will enjoy.
Be sure to support these groups at their concerts each semester and at our annual joint performance, AcaFest!