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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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"Ninety-Nine Problems, but a Pitch Ain't One"

The girls are dressed up and ready to go. Their voices are warmed up; they take deep breaths to keep their cool as the seats begin to fill with an expectant audience. When the lights shine, so do the performers. It's show time.

The Royal Pitches, UB's all girl a cappella group, have been singing all over Buffalo – from the sidewalks Downtown to the Center For the Arts, ever since their formation in 1996.

Without the help of any instruments or background music, the girls transform their voices into one harmonious melody.

"The greatest instrument in the world is the human voice," said Toni Eldayrie, a junior nursing major and member of the Pitches. "You can create the sound of any other instrument."

The Pitches take the voices of more than 10 girls and try to make it sound as if they have an entire band backing them. It's through natural music, their own voices, by which the group expresses itself, according to Katie Spence, a sixth year pharmacy student and member of the Pitches.

"I'm not a person who is very good with words," Spence said. "Music gives me an outlet and a way to say things that I normally can't."

Many of the members had been involved with music long before they came to UB. Whether they were performing in high school musicals, playing piano, or singing in chorus, music has been a part of their lives. Joining the Royal Pitches gave them the opportunity to explore their musical prowess even further.

"When I got to college and decided to major in something [other than music], I felt like part of me was missing," Eldayrie said.

The Royal Pitches are open to all majors, so Eldayrie was able to pursue her academic interests along with her musical ones.

Not only did Eldayrie get the opportunity to perform with girls she considered her life-long friends, but she was also involved in the creation of the Pitches' latest CD, 99 Problems But A Pitch Ain't One.

Spence set up and controlled the CD process. The Pitches went into GCR Audio, a studio owned by the Goo Goo Dolls, and recorded every song on the album in one day. It was an expensive process, but the CD showcases some of the Pitches greatest songs from the last couple of semesters, according to Eldayrie.

"Each track has a great story," Eldayrie said.

From hearing a song on the radio, to arranging it for a cappella singers, and finally performing it in front of an audience, it's the journey that's the best part, according to Kristen Mazurkiewicez, a fifth year pharmacy student and the Pitches' music director.

"[Singing gives you] the same feeling that a runner gets when they are running, or that a dancer gets when they are dancing. It's something you know how to do, and you do it well," Mazurkiewicez said. "It's a beautiful, freeing feeling."

The Pitches' upcoming Winter Concert will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall on North Campus. The members will be showcasing the Royal Pitches new look as they perform their latest songs and old songs with a new spin, according to Mazurkiewicez. Not only will there be vocal performances, but the Pitches have found a way to incorporate a light show, adding visual elements to their concert.

A love of music brought them together, but it's commitment that keeps the Royal Pitches such a tight-knit group, according to Spence.

"[It's a] commitment to each other, to the group and to our music," Spence said.





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