Free Verse A Cappella Enters its Second Season

Grace Kepperling '20, Staff Writer

From the old barbershop groups, to the modern-day Pentatonix group, to the television show Glee, A Cappella has been around for quite some time, despite what some people might think. The true origin of A Cappella cannot be named since all it entails is humming a tune in your shower or bedroom. However, most will say that A Cappella singing originated in church choirs that sang Gregorian Chants since “A Cappella” translates to “in the manner of the chapel.” Another common misconception is that Pitch Perfect, Glee, and the Pentatonix are the only successful pop culture references to A Cappella performing. However, there are many successful groups across the world that sing without the accompaniment of instruments including the angelic choirs at mass and “groups of old guys” that perform in barbershop groups.

The barbershop style of A Cappella music started in the 1930s. It is typically performed in groups of four men singing tenor, baritone, and bass vocal parts, but, there are female barbershop groups with voices that blow people away. Another form of barbershop singing is a barbershop chorus. Barbershop choruses can have dozens of members and their performances are absolutely incredible.  

Some of you may or may not know that Oakland Catholic has a competitive A Cappella group that was started last year by Tucker Helms from Central Catholic. The group, Free Verse, is made up of students from both Central and Oakland. Free Verse was entered in the ICHSA competition last year and came in second place for quarterfinals and semifinals, barely missing the first place award that would have taken the group to NYC for the finals. Outside of the competition season, the group performed at the spring arts festival and the Central Catholic spring concert.

The group is fairly small, consisting of thirteen students overall with all grade levels represented. Free Verse is a student-run group of talented singers that came together after auditioning at the end of last school year. Auditions are held at the end of the school year so the group can recruit new people and rebuild after the senior members graduate. Robert Pratski and Tucker Helms are currently working together to lead the group through its second year. Rob is a senior at Central and Tucker is a freshman in college at CMU. Both are involved in the group despite their busy schedules, and have high aspirations for what Free Verse can achieve this year!