Royal Pitches member Kristie Norton brings her unique voice to UB

Norton has been involved with music throughout her life but says performing with Royal Pitches has been a unique experience


When Kristie Norton was growing up, her father, a musician in a rock band, taught her how to play drums.

Norton said this was just the start of her music career, and since then she has found a way to always connect to music.

Norton, a junior communication and sociology major, has been performing with The Royal Pitches, UB’s female a cappella group, since her freshman year. After auditioning during the spring semester of her first year at UB, Norton has continued her passion of music through performing with the group.

She said her start with the drums helped her excel into the musician she is today. Norton, her dad, her brother and her sister all played the drums.

Norton grew up in the small town of Alexander, New York – about an hour away from Buffalo. She was always involved with music, even before joining The Royal Pitches. She performed in musicals every year from fifth grade to the end of high school.

She said The Royal Pitches have about four “major semester performances” each semester, which in the past have included traveling to other colleges in the Buffalo area as well as to different cities surrounding Buffalo.

While some members have set sections they perform in, Norton said her voice changes depending on what song the group is performing.

“I’m usually an alto or a soprano and vocal percussion as well, the beat boxing,” she said.

Kimberly Potfora, the musical director of The Royal Pitches, said Norton brings a “great energy” to the group. Potfora said Norton has a talent of engaging the audience while performing, which is something The Royal Pitches try to stress.

Alexa Feiner, president of The Royal Pitches and a sophomore psychology major and vocal minor, said like most performers, there are some challenges within the group. Feiner’s job is to keep track of the group to make sure those challenges are minimized.

“It’s difficult because you have to focus on the background vocals and all the girls who are singing different parts and it’s really important to focus on blending,” Feiner said. “You don’t want to sopranos to be singing much louder than any other parts, otherwise you’ll be able to tell.”

Norton said at first, a cappella itself was a challenge, and even now some songs are harder than the next. But Potfora said Norton’s vocal skills have increased and that something about her voice that stands out among the crowd.

“I love Kristie’s voice because it has a very unique tone quality to it,” Potfora said in an email. “Kristie often sings with a soft and even tone, because she is very conscious of her blend and pitch, but if given the chance and a little bit of prompting, Kristie can really open up and have a strong, controlled belt voice as a soloist.”

Even growing up surrounded by music, Norton said there is something unique about singing in an a cappella group that has helped her grow as a musician.

Although she’s had experiences performing on stages for theater, Norton said she chose to join the a cappella group for more than just the sound. Norton said the “unity” within the group was what ultimately drew her to joining.

“I was in choir and I sing with my dad’s band sometimes, but there is something about a cappella where I feel like everyone is far more included,” Norton said. “It’s a cool concept, especially since our group is all females and it brings us together.”

James MacDavid is a news staff writer and can be reached at