By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer
Whether it is rock, pop, or R&B, there is one organization here at UMass Dartmouth who knows how to belt a tune or two and get everyone up and on their feet.
First established in the spring of 2009, Mental Note the one and only a capella group on campus is one of the many organizations that are made available to students.
The student run group spotlights music from various genres, while spotlighting them through chorus concerts, campus-wide events and their own hosted events.
Rehearsals are twice a week for a total of 4.5 hours of practice. “We hold auditions once every semester. They are very competitive because we usually take the people who can fulfill parts such as: alto, soprano, bass, tenor, and if their sound blends well with the group,” said club president Nicole Howell.
Mental Notes also travels to other various schools for performances. Just last semester the musical group performed at UMass Lowell and Keen State.
The team usually holds two concerts each year. “Our annual winter concert, and our spring invitational which this year is April 28th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the main auditorium,” said Howell.” At the invitational we are inviting other acapella groups to perform.”
Club member Rachel Ferreira believes the group to be special and unique in its own way.
“Mental Note is a unique group because unlike surrounding colleges we do not receive any funding from the school. Although this has its downside, it encourages members to write their own music for the group instead of purchasing arrangements,” said Ferreira. “We can proudly say that the majority of our arrangements were written by one or more of our very own members.”
If you are a fan of “Uptown Girl” or “Heathens” then you might have just found your group.
“We have songs from all different generations. We have songs from ‘Uptown Girl’ to ‘Heathens,’” said Howell.
“Our set list during my presidency is ‘Uptown Girl’ by Billy Joel, a Bon Jovi mashup called ‘It’s My Prayer,’ ‘Give Me Love’ by Ed Sheeran, and holiday songs like ‘Let it Snow’ and ‘Santa Tell Me,’” Howell continued.
“[We also do] a mashup of ‘No diggity/Hit em up Style,’ ‘Chandelier,’ ‘Bang, Bang,’ ‘Gone, Gone, Gone,’ ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered,’ ‘No Such Thing,’ and ‘Diary of Jane.’”
If you are holding your own event on campus the group is always welcome to come and play a tune. “You just tell us when and where and choose the songs you want us to sing from our set list,” said Howell.
There are two fundraisers in particular that they do every semester including caroling, a winter favorite, and acapellagrams for Valentine’s Day.
Anyone can benefit from the beauty of the club’s hard work. “Everyone on campus can use us free of charge to complement their event,” said Howell. “We perform at events like the Corsair Fair and Relay for Life.”
There is always something special about a group that makes them stand out from all the rest. “We’ve been around for a while and the best part of acapella is we are the music, so whenever our friends get together we don’t have to play music we just get our voices together and sing,” said Howell.
Ferreira will never forget one show in particular. “One of my many favorite events has to be our 2015 Spring Concert where we recorded our first CD,” said Ferreira.
All the concerts are free of charge and if you are interested in checking out Mental Note yourself they have a show coming up, Spring Invitation, that will take place on April 28 in the main auditorium.
“Performing is awesome when you get reactions from the crowd. We have top notch soloists and when they hit high notes the crowd goes wild,” said Howell.
“They also love it when we have strong blending and dynamics because it sounds like the actual song is playing but in reality we are all just using our voices, and most of the time our rendition is better.”
If you are interested in trying out, Ferreira says to give it a try. “Singing positions are auditioned and we encourage everyone to give it a shot. In addition, all UMass Dartmouth students are invited to help organize and participate in events such as concerts and fundraisers.”