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The Naturelles after winning first at the ICAA quarterfinals.

Courtesy of The Naturelles Twitter

The Naturelles win quarterfinals at the ICCA A Cappella competition

Naturelles President Brittany Wood: “The Naturelles is not a cookie-cutter girls group; we perform meaningful and edgy songs.”

By Rashi Shrivastava | March 17, 2017

Tags: Music

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Reaching high notes and greater heights of accomplishments, one of MU’s a cappella groups, The Naturelles, has caught a new lead toward an 11-year dream.

The Naturelles are a group of 15 female singers who recently competed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Midwest Quarterfinal hosted at Washington University in St. Louis. For the quarterfinals, the group had to compete against 10 other college groups of the 300 total at the competition. The Naturelles made history by being MU’s first a cappella group to win the quarter final and make it to semifinals.

A cappella is all about composing symphony using only the human voice and its vibrant characteristics. A cappella singing requires great coordination and development of the individual singer as well as the group as a whole.

“The Naturelles is not a cookie-cutter girls group,” Naturelles President Brittany Wood said. “We perform meaningful and edgy songs.”

After moving away from clichéd pop songs and incorporating diversity and depth in their performances, The Naturelles have made their way into semifinals.

The Naturelles were formed in 2007 and have been performing ever since. All 15 current singers are non-music majors. They also have a vocal percussionist (a beat boxer) and a music director who helps put the pieces together and arranges voice parts. They draw inspiration from the songs they listen to frequently on Spotify or the radio. The group meets twice a week to practice for competitions and events on campus.

“A lot of us don’t have huge music backgrounds,” Wood said. “None of us are here to be music teachers or to be singers. We’re just here trying to get an education for something else, but we’d never want to give up that hobby.”

Wood said one of the challenges they face while practicing is coordinating everyone’s schedules.

“Sometimes it’s just hard being able to get everyone’s schedules to line up,” Wood said. “People have busy lives and none of us are music majors so we have to work the extra mile to sound good and make sure everyone’s at practice. Because we don’t have instruments, we rely solely on our voices, so when voices are missing, it’s very obvious.”

Even though scheduling can be challenging, their love of music brings them together.

“We work together well and we’re all pretty passionate,” Wood said. “It’s pretty fun being an all-girls group. It’s like a whole other group of girls, you know, maybe I wouldn’t have met without having music, but music kind of brought us together.”

For the quarterfinals, The Naturelles performed a combination of three songs. They began with “River” by Bishop Briggs, transitioned into “Til it Happens to You” by Lady Gaga, and ended with “This is Gospel” by Panic! At The Disco.

They are currently preparing for the semifinals March 25 at Indiana University where they will compete against 10 other a capella groups.

“We’re excited for semifinals coming up soon,” Wood said. “We don’t really go to competitions to compete, we’re just trying to have fun and perform. It’s something that we all do because we like music. Winning was a perk, obviously, and a motivation to keep working hard, but in the end we’re excited that we get to keep singing.”

Edited by Katherine White | kwhite@themaneater.com

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