Elegantly dressed students stand quietly in a horizontal line as they wait for their director to start the beat. What was once silence becomes twelve voices all blending in together to be one.
This is Western Appeal, Missouri Western’s very first collegiate a capella group. A cappella is singing without instruments.
Freshman Mary Beth Rosenauer came up with the idea for Western to have their own a cappella group when she was looking over YouTube videos last summer. What influenced her was University of Oregon’s a cappella group On the Rocks sing a Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” She thought, “Hey, we could do this.”
“The cool thing about the a cappella groups is they’re really big on other campuses, and so to start one up would be really neat,” Rosenauer said. “It’s something other schools our size, like Northwest (Missouri State), don’t have one, so one up on them is always nice.”
Founded in November of 2011, Rosenauer came up with Western Appeal to be the name for the group because they put their own twist, or appeal, on different songs. So far the group has 12 members, including freshman Jacob Mills who plays Seymour Krelborn in Western’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”
Rosenauer wants at least 16 members in the group, and it’s open for anyone to join; any student with any sort of major can be a part of the group.
In the past couple of semesters, Western Appeal has sang Christmas songs at Light Up Western and the Caroling Fundraiser at East Hills Mall for The Salvation Army, as well as sang songs like “Lean on Me,” “Black Bird” and student director junior Derek Thompson’s arrangement of “Eye of the Tiger” at the Western Activities Council Talent Show and in Blum Union. To hear Western Appeal’s songs, search “Western Appeal” on YouTube and choose from the first four choices.
So far, students, like Thompson, have had a lot of fun with the group.
“The thing I enjoy most is having the freedom to create music that we really enjoy with a group of close friends,” Thompson said.
The most recent place Western Appeal sang was the Grace Evangelical Church in St. Joseph for the Area A Cappella Voices of America competition on April 14. While Western Appeal is co-ed, it competed against all men’s and women’s groups.
After an audience vote, Western Appeal took home the first place trophy.
“It was a good experience, and it gave us hope that we could go to other competitions and stuff because when you’re new, it’s hard,” Rosenauer said.
As of now, the group is done practicing for the semester. However, Rosenauer said the students will hopefully get to work on more over the summer.
“This is kind of a test run, like a guinea pig, so hopefully next semester we’ll have a full-wide campus auditions and try and be a real group.”