The Polyphonics is Warwick’s very own a cappella group, founded in January 2013 to meet the growing needs of campus’ many talented performers and showcase their abilities!
We are a mixed group of ~14 who meet twice a week to rehearse arrangements of classic and contemporary pop, rock, jazz and even musical theatre with a view to performing in concert and other events. We’re also a ‘competitive’ a cappella group, in that we take part in such competitions as the Voice Festival UK and the ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella).
Below is a brief FAQ - If you would like any other info or have questions, please visit our website, where you can also get in touch with us.
What’s ‘a cappella’?
A cappella simply means ‘without accompaniment’ – i.e. when we perform, everything you hear comes from the singers’ mouths. Depending on the style or complexity of the arrangement, this will include beat boxing (for rhythm), other vocal percussion, instrumentation, melodies and supporting harmonies.
A cappella is absolutely huge in the USA among colleges and schools and has been growing steadily in popularity elsewhere in recent years (seen Pitch Perfect?), with groups springing up all over the UK at universities and schools and in communities between friends – after all, all that’s required is a keen ear, well-pitched voices and someone who can transcribe music. Universities with (often multiple) a cappella groups include Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrew’s, Bristol and our close neighbours and rivals, Birmingham. A comprehensive (and very long!) list of UK collegiate a cappella groups can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_university_a_cappella_groups_in_the_UK
What type of music do you perform? Is it like a choir?
We’re open to any kind of music – if one of our members has a particular song that they really like, or someone has a tune persistently stuck in their hand that simply won’t go away, and it lends itself to an a cappella arrangement, we’ll consider covering it.
The best a cappella arrangements are either very true to the original song, or they do something completely different and clever with it. Either way, the performances are nothing like the kind of music you hear in church or choirs; if that’s what you’re after in particular, you might be better off looking to the Chamber Choir.
What do you do?
All the usual stuff you might expect! We perform in concerts (in the Arts Centre venues or busking on campus), at University open days, WSAF (Warwick Student Arts Festival at the end of term three) and at private functions. This year we’re hoping to record an album, which will be followed by a UK performing tour. As we are a competitive group, we’ll also be pitching in at the VFUK, ICCA and other competitions. If we’re lucky, we’ll also be able to offer our members a few performance workshops from experienced professionals!
I’m interested – how do I join?
Each year we hold auditions at the beginning of term one to fill the vacancies left by members who, due to graduation or other reasons, can’t continue to perform with the group. You can find more info on auditions on our website (www.the-polyphonics.co.uk) or you can find us at the freshers’ fair.
What if I’m not successful?
Don’t worry – aside from the fact that there’ll be the opportunity to audition again next year, any vacancies that arise during the course of year, for any reason, will also be advertised and you will be able to audition again. Our workshops may be open to non-performing members on our mailing list. We’re also very open to collaboration, so you can get involved through another society - or if you’re interested in contributing arrangements, this is something we’re happy to discuss!