UB's two a cappella groups, the Buffalo Chips and the Royal Pitches, will be holding auditions in the next week and are looking for talented, fun-loving singers to join their ranks.
The Buffalo Chips, the university's only male a cappella group, are looking to build on the success of last season after the group earned the honor of competing at the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Finals at Lincoln Center in New York City last April.
Daniel Stafford, a junior psychology major and musical director of the Buffalo Chips, views the experience as the highlight of his time with the group thus far.
"It was pretty amazing," Stafford said. "Competing with the six best a cappella groups in the nation was so rewarding."
The Buffalo Chips have undergone major lineup changes in the past year and are hoping that this year's auditions will bring out some fresh talent to replace past veterans.
"We lost five members this year," Stafford said. "But we never look for any set number [of new members], just good musicians."
Matthew Smith, a senior communication major, is entering his fourth year as a part of the Buffalo Chips and recalls his audition experience with fondness and amusement.
"I was really nervous and completely forgot the words to my song…but [the Chips] were really nice and understanding about it, and even helped me out with the first couple of words," Smith said. "It was a really supportive, really friendly kind of experience."
Based on his own experience, Smith offers advice for students who wish to audition for the Buffalo Chips.
"Just be yourself and act like you're having a good time, even if you're nervous. It's all about having fun," Smith said.
Members of The Royal Pitches, UB's only all female a cappella group, echo Smith's suggestion.
"Don't pick anything crazy just because you want to try to impress us," said Tessa Shuck, a first-year physical therapy doctoral candidate and general director of the Royal Pitches. "Everyone's going to be nervous, so don't worry about being nervous. We understand."
Shuck's decision to audition for the Royal Pitches three years ago was primarily based on her desire to keep music in her life after entering a non-musical professional program.
"I knew that my program would require a lot of math, science and studying. I didn't want to lose that artistic aspect of my life," Shuck said. "This was my way of fitting into this big world that is UB."
The Royal Pitches have high hopes for this year as well. With plans to record a new album and intent on competing at ICCA's this spring, the Royal Pitches are looking for new girls to be a part of their new ventures.
"I would recommend auditioning to anybody who likes music and can sing," said Lani Brown, a senior health and human services major and two-year member of the Pitches. "I love these girls. We really click."
Stafford and Shuck both emphasize that being a member of UB's a cappella community is rewarding outside the musical aspect.
"Most of us hangout with each other [outside of rehearsal]. Camaraderie is a big factor," Stafford said. "I have a group of other guys to rely on."
"I have made some amazing friends by being in this group," Shuck said. "I was in the wedding of a former Royal Pitch. I've had so many experiences I would have never had in college if I hadn't joined."
Opening day of auditions for the Buffalo Chips will be on Monday, Sept. 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the Student Union Theater. Auditions will also take place Tuesday, Sept. 14 and Thursday, Sept. 17 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., in Norton 112 (also known as Woldman Theater).
The Royal Pitches will be holding auditions on Friday, Sept. 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in 330 Student Union.