Beyond Harmony: Ready To Pitch-Slap

Brittany Lovette, Reporter

The all-female a cappella group Beyond Harmony has its largest number of members ever.

The group began in fall 2008 under the direction of Alumni Abby Heintzelman.  It’s now under the direction of senior English major Grace Riker.

A cappella is a type of singing performed without instruments, which is growing in popularity with movies like “Pitch Perfect” and music groups such as “Straight No Chaser.”

Riker and the other songstresses are working on songs for Valentine’s Day when they plan to go the nursing home on campus and sing to the elderly. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Railriders asked the group to audition to sing for them as they have in the past and the group will perform at the Ensemble Evening, which will be held at the end of the semester.

Riker hopes to expand the group and get members involved with new singing opportunities.

“I just want us to have a lot of fun and to just try a lot of different things. You know I don’t want to limit the girls,” said Riker. “We’re talking about doing our own mash-up, which would be kind of cool. So we are getting ideas for that. I want to get a couple of more performances in before I leave and just get us out there a little more.”

Beyond Harmony started with only eight women in the group. It stayed that way until Riker decided to add a few more women, bringing it to 13 members as she found new members to replace four who graduated last spring.

“We lost four girls to graduation. Krysta [Randall], Alina [Busch], myself, and Dina [Boyer] were the only ones left. The group that has always been eight, even since my freshman year in 2009,” said Riker.

Riker said she become the new leader by pitching ideas to the previous leader, Heintzelman.

“I had a bigger vision for the group and I wanted us to be a better a caliber you know with like every year because the group was new in 2008 you know. With every year we can grow so much and learn new things,” said Riker. “And eventually it would be awesome if the group could be competing. You know, everyone loves Pitch Perfect and those a cappella groups.”

With the loss of the four seniors, Riker had to find members who would work well in the  positions of alto one, alto two, soprano one and soprano two.

Riker said Beyond Harmony was lucky because the group found girls who can sing low as well and can switch from soprano to alto.

“Some who weren’t comfortable there at first, but they can hit it. The ones that we do have actually are all alto twos so they are pretty comfortable with it,” Riker said. “Some girls on alto one were soprano ones so they were singing the highest and go on to sing some of the low stuff.”

Junior Alina Busch said she loves performing and she’s learning as she does it.

“We have a lot of good singers and we are very good at working together and like coming up with ideas and we’re a very focused group and we have fun together too,” said Busch.

Beyond Harmony plans to use previously performed songs layered together as well add songs from John Lennon’s Imagine and some by Mariah Carey.

Beyond Harmony plans to add more modern songs to their lineup as well as expand the group, said junior Dinamichele Boyer.

“It’s gotten larger and we’re doing a wider variety of pieces, a lot of them more modern and we’re trying to really take the more modern spin on it and expand where we perform, our venues,” Boyer said.

Boyer hopes to have quality performances, and also a varied and unique set list that can give them a new edge to competition.

“We might try a competition or two. This semester, I think it would just be getting our feet wet but it would be a lot of fun,” she said.

If Beyond Harmony wants to participate in the competition that the film “Pitch Perfect” showcases, the a cappella group will have to be ready by the end of the month, according to Riker. To do this they have to put everything together within the next couple of weeks.

“Choreography, perfect everything, costumes and everything, which I don’t know if we are ready for that yet but we might actual go to a college in New York that’s doing a small a cappella get together,” said Riker.

“The fact that we can all get together and brainstorm and have fun putting together really cool works of art,” said Boyer.

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