Issue 24: Music & Contemporary Culture

"...but were we not to be forever united through a cappella, I probably would not have met them otherwise."

A Cappella

Loey Bull, Northfield Mount Hermon School
Jan 31, 2019

Joining an a cappella group is one of the most influential decisions of my NMH experience. Nine out of ten times I would do it all over again; and yes, just like you, I pulled the “I’m sorry if I sound bad, I’m getting over a cold” card when I auditioned.


Perhaps what I enjoy most about being a leader of The Nellies, NMH’s all-female a cappella group, is the amount of interest in a cappella at our school. NMH is full of talented people. It is such a treat to be a part of the audition process, to become privy to the voices of other students and to what music inspires in them based on their audition song selection. In a cappella, every single member is essential to making the song sound complete. The soloist can't follow the beat without the beatboxer, and the sopranos can't hit their high notes without the altos laying down the bass line. You can call me a music nerd for obsessing over cool mouth noises, but whoever said “your voice is an instrument” hit it right on the head.


We can and do sing anywhere and everywhere. The Nellies spent one Sunday afternoon trekking around campus, looking for any hospitable environment where we might be able to impose our music upon some unsuspecting people. Plant and property enjoyed some lovely holiday music, to say the least. It's true, half of the girls in The Nellies are way too cool for me, but were we not to be forever united through a cappella, I probably would not have met them otherwise. The joke is on them because now they're stuck with me forever.

We totally do weird cult-y things. Nearly every rehearsal, we turn the lights off and lie with our heads in a circle on the ground. Someone begins when they feel compelled and members chime in until we have a song, often with ad-libbed lyrics. Perhaps we should call the game ‘What's the weirdest sound we can make while singing and get away with it,’ Sha-No-Ba-Da, or Zapee Da Bow-Ow-classics. There is nothing better than singing a new song, having it sound beautiful, and knowing that it was the result of a collaboration between you and some of your talented best friends. For the fun rehearsals, memorable performances, and the all-around thrill of creating music, I am a proud member of the Northfield Mount Hermon Nellies.


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