This fall, the College will be welcoming a new all-female a cappella group to campus, the Kite & Keys.
Hannah Mead ’14, founder and interim president of the group, began the process of creating the new ensemble in the spring of 2012. She wanted another opportunity for girls who were not granted admittance to the other two a cappella groups: Sweet Ophelia, the other all-female group and Poor Richards, a co-ed a cappella group.
“We gathered a bunch of girls together who were committed and looking to start a new group,” Mead said.
Currently, the group consists of three sophomores, four juniors, and two seniors.
Searching for a name tying in with the school’s history, Mead found inspiration for the name of the group from the on-campus dining option, Kite-N-Key Grill in the dining hall, as well as the connection to musical keys.
However, starting a new a cappella group was not always an easy process for the founder.
“The process in starting a new organization is pretty hard and complicated,” Mead said. “It was hard to get people on board with a group that has no history on campus.”
In order to start a new a cappella group, Mead had to go through a long process of gaining approval from Club Council.
“The biggest process was writing a constitution and going through the four-page document to approve the entire process of how the group will be run,” she said.
The group is currently approved as an on-campus club through Club Council but applied too late in the semester last year to be allocated a budget. In addition to these financial difficulties, the group then had to consider its proposed repertoire and song choices.
“It’s hard with an all-female group to have a wide range of music, since the lead singer will have a limited range,” Mead said.
However Mead does not plan on letting that stop the group from being diverse.
“We want to take that risk and try different ranges,” she said. “We want to offer variable genres ranging from country to pop to indie. We want to be known as a group that is versatile.”
The Kite & Keys were granted an opportunity last semester to open for the Chessmen, the all-male a cappella group on campus, in order to get the name buzzing in the campus conscience. The group plans to open for the Chessmen again this semester, but is hoping to have a concert of its own as well this upcoming school year.
“I was really impressed because it was the first time they really performed,” said Michael Manley ’14, on-campus event coordinator for the Chessmen, when asked about the Chessmen’s opening act. “I was impressed how far they came in such a short time.”
Manley felt the addition of another a cappella group would prove to be beneficial for the campus.
“I was excited [when I heard there would be another group on campus] because I think the campus needs to grow in its a cappella field,” he said. “I think it’s important to get some new faces on the a cappella scene.”
The group has also developed another tactic for getting the group more recognition.
“We want to have a concert where people can just walk through so that even people that were not planning on attending might end up at the concert and become interested in the group,” she said.
Alison Tufano ’14, former publicist for Sweet Ophelia, was asked whether or not she thought the addition of another all-female a cappella group on campus will change the concert dynamics.
“I don’t think so,” Tufano said. “[In the past] our combined concerts have just been celebrating all the groups.”
The Kite & Keys have been preparing for months for their first performance. As of the spring of 2012, the group was rehearsing twice a week for an hour or two at a time.
Even without a set concert date at the time, Mead makes sure the group takes the most possible away from each
“We spend a lot of time on a specific song,” she said. “We go through it and then step back and see what needs work.”
It has been a long, laborious past few months for Mead and Kite & Keys, but Mead has not let that deter her.
“Our biggest goal right now is to stay on campus,” she said. “We are new and while it’s fun, it is also slightly frightening.”
Tufano was glad to hear that Kite & Keys would become an official a cappella group this fall.
“We welcome them because it’s a really exciting time to have a new a cappella group on campus, and I think it’s going to add excitement to music and singing on campus,” Tufano said. “I think it will be great.”
With a newly gained experience of starting a new group on campus, Mead gave advice to those with plans for starting something new here at F&M.
“[If you want to start a new club,] just do it,” she said. “Go for it and don’t think too much about it. Franklin & Marshall is a good opportunity to start clubs and get out there and do what you like.”
Questions? Email Katherine at firstname.lastname@example.org.