WCU’s women’s barbershop style a cappella group, Gracenotes, was one of the 18 groups chosen to record a song for Ben Folds upcoming album. Gracenotes was recognized on April 3, 2007 by SGA as an official organization on campus. Folds hosted a contest for college a cappella groups to compete to sing one of his songs on his next album, to be released in April of 2009. The CD is being mastered this January. The group will hear back in about a month if they will definitely be featured on Fold’s album.
Gracenotes found out about the contest in the middle of October through an email to a cappella groups. After only a short time allotted to practice, they registered on his Web site and sent in one of their recordings in the middle of November. Two days after this, Folds personally notified the group that they were among his choices.
“(Folds) did everything personally, he emailed me, he called me, that was really cool,” said fourth-year student Courtney Park, she is a co-president of the a cappella group.
Folds watched and picked groups to hear in person. Folds listened to the groups and selected 18 out of the 250 groups that entered, to record. These groups, including Gracenotes, recorded one of his songs. Folds will select 12 or 15 of the 18 remaining groups to be on his album.
“Recording was fun, it was exciting,” said fourth-year student Kristen Waghorn, she is the president of Gracenotes.
“(Folds) seemed really interested in us, he was relaxed and it kept us relaxed (during recordings),” said Park.
“Every other song we sing is something that other groups have done, and this is ours . . . the CD is going to be released nationally and get our names out there more than it is,” Park said.
Park checked a voicemail from Folds, when she heard the news, she told the other groups members. Park said that group members were “really excited” to be picked by Folds. Park said that a couple minutes after Fold’s called her, “everybody in the school of music heard about it.”
When asked how the group felt about being selected, Waghorn said that “it hasn’t really hit us yet, we’re really proud of the group.”
Gracenotes met in person with Folds as he recorded them for three hours on Wednesday Dec. 3, in Princeton, NJ. Courtney Park took Fold’s piece and arranged it for the a cappella group to sing and for the contest. The original song by Folds, Fred Jones, part two, sang by Gracenotes for the competition, can be viewed on youtube.com. Folds also allowed them to record a song they normally sing. The group posted it on myspace.com/wcugracenotes. They also have a page on Facebook, search gracenotes.
“This is a really big deal for us, especially because we are so new and Courtney arranged it (for the group),” Waghorn said.
Waghorn said that Gracenotes has done other “gigs” on and off campus, “but we never did anything like this before.” The members were invited to sing the national anthem at a Phantoms game, they responded that they would, but did not hear back.
“We sing older styles, but more updated . . . really different than Folds styles, but it was nice to try something other than what we’re use to,” Waghorn said.
According to their myspace page, Gracenotes is a brand new women’s barbershop a cappella group. They are in the Harmony Chapter of Sweet Adelines International, a world-wide women’s barbershop organization.
Waghorn founded Gracesnotes, which was established on campus in the fall of 2005. The student- run a cappella group began with six members that has now been singing together for three and a half years. Waghorn said that other colleges have had groups for 20 years. Park said one college a cappella group has been around for 100 years and they practice every night.
Waghorn said the group has officially been rehearsing for the past two years, only one night of the week.
“We’ve grown a lot since we began,” Waghorn said, now the group has 21 members. This is the largest that the group has been. It is an all girls group, students range from first to fourth-year, various majors with about half of the girls being music majors.
“Most of us are graduating and it’s a great way to go out . . . recording with a celebrity,” said Waghorn.
The 21 group members include, based on sections: Tenors: Kristen Waghorn (president), Samantha Hahn, Stefanie Reitzel, Becky Young, Kaylee Black; leads: Laurie Day, Kate Adams, Amanda Donley, Sarah Weiand, Beth Serowsky (secretary), Kristin Neel, Shelley Snapp; Baritones: Courtney Park (vice president), Jamie Reese, Amy Buckner (co-president), Alison Grimm; Basses: Sarah Vogel, Alyson Kenny, Julie Bobb (treasurer), Ruth Almy, and Emily Zmoda.
On campus, the group has sung for Disney Day in Sykes Theater, SGA Inauguration, Aid to South Africa, Old Fashioned Christmas, Opening act for the Fault Line, WCU Honors banquet, orientations, fall previews, spring open houses, who’s who on American College, and the tribute to Dr. Alder. The group has sang at other college campuses and other areas. Check their Web site for more locations.
Gracenotes myspace page listed songs that they perform, which includes the following:
Current Repertoire: All My Lovin’
Candle on the Water
Fred Jones, Pt. 2
Gonna Live ‘Till I Die
Hooked on a Feeling
I Don’t Want to Walk Without You
I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing
If You Had All the World and Its Gold
In My Life
Orange Colored Sky
Someone To Watch Over Me
Star Spangled Banner
Steppin’ Out With My Baby
Swing Down Chariot
When I’m 64
When Will I Be Loved
Will I Ever Tell You
Carol of the Bells
Home for the Holidays
Jingle Bell Rock
Let It Snow
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
The groups tagline found on myspace.com/wcugracenotes says, “…because the world needs a little more harmony!”
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a second-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.