If you're a fan of shows like Glee and The Sing-Off, you don't have to wait for new episodes to get your a cappella fix. Nazareth College is the home of its own glee club (Note to Self), a co-ed a cappella group (Fermata Thin Air), and an all-female a cappella group, Call4Backup.
Call4Backup is made up of 15 female singers ranging from freshmen to seniors, and the group holds auditions for new members every fall. "When we decide who is going to be in the group, we really look at personality and how well that person will mesh with us," says Jessica Stevens '11, co-leader of Call4Backup. "We're not necessarily looking for the next pop star."
Daniela Albano '13 remembers what it was like to audition for Call4Backup in her freshman year. "The girls in the group were all really nice and what I loved about the audition was that the members sang for us. It was a great way to hear what they sounded like and got me excited about auditioning."
Started in 1998, Call4Backup is the oldest a cappella singing group on Nazareth's campus. Its all-male counterparts—One Big Hat and Malefunction—are now defunct. Fermata Thin Air, a co-ed a cappella group that was started in 2009, is just getting started and holds its auditions in the fall and spring semester, as needed.
Call4Backup is not considered a typical student club, but rather an organization. It is completely run by its members with no faculty or staff involvement. That means the group chooses and arranges its own songs, runs rehearsals, and books its own paying gigs. The group's members perform 10 to 12 concerts per semester, but despite their full schedule of performances, they still find time to do community service. "We've performed for free at events like last year’s Haiti relief concert, Take Back the Night, and the national Interfaith Understanding Conference. It's important to us to give back and volunteer whenever we can," says Stevens.
In the fall of 2009, Call4Backup had about 20 aspiring members try out—one of the largest pools the group has had to choose from. Stevens thinks the popularity of shows like Glee and American Idol have inspired students to give a cappella singing a shot. "Before such shows, a cappella wasn’t commercial. The most well-known group was maybe Boys II Men. But now it's definitely more popular and that's good for us."
Albano agrees. "I think Call4Backup is only going to grow. Nazareth is really proud of the group and that feels good...whenever we perform, we definitely feel the love from the students."