Although she was heavily involved in school and church music programs in Indianapolis where she grew up—drum
major, first chair flautist, section leader in show choir and winter drumline, member of many musical ensembles and a youth praise band, music department pet—Julia avoided a cappella for the majority of her life. But now, she is being drawn back into the fold for the third time, and she can’t help but reflect upon a cappella’s corrupting influence on her life.
When she first arrived at Yale University for her undergraduate degree, she was overwhelmed by the 14(!) a cappella groups available to her, and she did not participate. (This is a polite way of saying she was not accepted into any groups.) But by sophomore year, she was ready to enter the world of instrument-less singing. Shortly after joining Mixed Company of Yale, she switched her major from pre-med to American Studies, got really into bowling and bagels, and, most distressingly, discovered she liked to belt and riff.
For her senior year, she joined Whim ‘n Rhythm, Yale’s only SSAA, all-senior a cappella group. It was empowering, they sang for Stevie Wonder, and the group went on a 7-week-long international trip to 10 countries that started in Tokyo and ended in Dublin, etc. etc. but her main takeaway was that if you tell a musical director that you suppose you would be interested in learning how to beatbox, you will become a beatboxer.
After a year of living in Alaska and Indiana, Julia moved to D.C. to get a job on the Hill, and then she left her job on the Hill. Now she works at a whiskey bar and sings with Vox Pop. Is it coincidence that every time she sings with an a cappella group, she diverges from the straight and narrow? Or is it fate?