Warwick A Cappella Society is a society for performing, arranging and appreciating unaccompanied vocal music.
It is an umbrella for all a cappella groups within the university to centralise our shared passion for music as well as to develop our knowledge and skills relating to the art. It is a platform for all a cappella lovers at the university to come together and appreciate a cappella music. No one should ever have to suppress their need to sing and make music, and this society aims for members to express their musical abilities freely!
We aim to be a platform for new a cappella groups, provide motivation for them to compete, and be an access point to the outside world. WACA holds events, competitions, contact performance venues, and reach out to other universities – amplifying the voices of these groups. The society simply gives the opportunity for rehearsed groups to perform through a unified, recognised, established and professional society.
We hope to pave a way forward, leaving a legendary mark and a legacy for the University of Warwick.
We hold auditions for all our groups at the beginning of the academic year primarily but we do re-open auditions at the beginning of term 2 for additional members!
Separately, we hold a bi-weekly session called ‘WACA chorus’ which is open to absolutely everyone and members of other groups are encouraged to come along to meet each other and sing in a relaxed environment. Each session has a different theme and focusses on a different aspect of a cappella singing.
We also hold group specific workshops to develop and improve various a cappella skills such as arranging, dynamics, blending, beatboxing, tuning and many more aspects. We’ve even invited many well-know musicians in to work with us such as select members from the likes of the Sons of Pitches and the King Singers, as well as other people well-known to the a cappella community.
Since 2020, Warwick has hosted the Open A Cappella Competition (OAC) which provides groups from all across the country an opportunity to perform in a competition environment outside of the International Competition for Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs). It was named society event of the year in Warwick SU’s end of year awards in 2020. Since it’s founding, we’ve hosted some of the best a cappella groups from around the country such as Northern Lights, Axiom, Algorhythm, Elision, Aquapella, The Decibelles, The Rollingtones and Techtonics to name just a few.
Warwick’s first a cappella group ‘The Leamingtones’, was the first step into the a cappella scene. It was formed in 2014 (Before the society itself!). They are an auditioned a cappella group who have performed at many events since their founding including, TEDx Warwick conference, open mic nights, the MTW showcase, the International female barbershop convention held at WAC, Leamington band stand, Tonight Belongs to You fundraiser and even busked in the streets of Coventry and Leamington Spa. They also revel in their annual ‘barn trip’ which is quite the bonding experience!
Schrödinger’s scat has wowed audiences again and again with their heart-warming and amusing performances. From singing ‘autumn leaves’ to ‘clouds-on-fire’, they continually leave us in awe with their jazzy dissonance and harmony! They also enjoy adding a couple of tags to their sets - rightly so!
And we just love Athena - they bring a great energy to the a cappella scene at Warwick! From performing at open mic nights alongside other groups at Leif Tearooms and the end of terms showcases, they impress with their dynamic arrangements of songs like ‘Señorita’ and ‘breathing’
The society has bounced back well from a break during lockdown, sending a group to the ICCAs for the first time in Warwick history in 2022 and placing 4th in the Quarter final, and excelling to become the QF champions in the 2023 ICCAs, and placing well in the UK Final!
The society runs some amazing socials including nights out to the well-loved POP! and circling, Coventry’s Christmas Lights switch on, our annual Christmas Carolling, and attending various shows in the arts centre. We also look to continue expanding our presence at Warwick in every way we can by better incorporating with the music centre and engaging in more inter-society events such as those with Opera Warwick, Chamber Choir, Musical Theatre Warwick and Improv musical.
In 2023, the society includes seven groups! These are:
The Leamingtones - the founding group
Offscore - a competition group
Athena - all upper-voices group
Copper Chords - the pop group
Schrödingers scat - the jazz group
Musical Theatre - surprise! the musical theatre group
Barbershop - the barbershop singing group (not quartet)
Past groups have included:
Our very own barbershop quartet "The Undercuts" sing all the classics. They are our smallest group, but that doesn't stop them from producing a rich ringing sound synonymous with the barbershop style. They competed in the 2020 OAC and held their own despite being half the size of the next smallest group.
The "Practical Folkers", formed in October 2019. The were a smaller group who sang folk songs, and stretched the definition of "folk songs". They've had a busy first year, recording several arrangements, performing in Warwick blackout, and competing alongside 9 other groups in the OAC just 5 months after forming. They continue to stay in touch despite most of them graduating, and release occasional recordings of new arrangements.
Here is one member’s description of their experience in the Leamingtones…
‘Over the past few months becoming a member of WACA has become a significant part of my life at Warwick.
It is simply great to meet people with the same passion for singing every week and work hard for collective achievements such as new songs, choreography and great performances. Being on stage with an amazing bunch of talented people and seeing everyone having a fantastic time is one of the best feelings you can have as a musician and performer.
Although I have never been in an a cappella group before, WACA gave me the opportunity to flourish as a singer, progress with my own talent and discover new facets of singing in a group.
It’s great that every member can contribute by proposing new songs and preparing their own arrangements or choreography, creating a very inclusive atmosphere for creative talents.
But most importantly, WACA was not only a place to evolve in terms of singing and music, but also to form meaningful friendships with amazing people. These two terms with this lovely society were beyond sensational and I can’t wait for more exciting a cappella-moments in the future.’ -Kathy