Pitch Please, Northwood’s a cappella group, released a two-track EP April 18. The EP, titled Take Note, was released on iTunes April 28. A cappella director and vocals and guitar teacher Matthew Hanson said that it had been his goal to record an EP with the group, but the $5,000 earned from the Division II Mix 101.5 Christmas Choir Competition last semester helped to kick-start the process.
“Since they won the competition, I wanted to reward them,” Hanson said. “This was kind of the perfect experience I could give them to go in the studio and record two tracks and kind of immortalize them in a way in a CD that they could have forever.”
According to sophomore member Silas Waller, “it sounds amazing.”
“It’s such a cool feeling, because I’m 15 years old, and my voice is on a CD, and it’s going to be on iTunes,” Waller said. “People across the world can open their computer and hear my voice.”
Other members of the group share Waller’s excitement.
“It’s really exciting to release an EP just because no group in the school or club or after school activity has done something like this before, especially something that costs as much money and takes as much time and effort to build– something worth buying and worth producing,” junior member Jacqueline Helgans said.
According to Helgans, hearing the professionally recorded sound is a lot different than hearing the group on a regular recording.
“It’s very different,” Helgans said. “I’ve gotten to perform in a recording studio previously through other music programs, but this is very different, because a cappella is a completely different style of singing. We have no instruments so the way we sing with tracks and the way your voice sounds once it’s been mastered is very unique.”
Freshman Connor Lewis agrees. According to him, the professional recording provides a more cohesive sound than what might be possible during a live performance.
“It’s really different [to hear your voice on a professional recording] because you record it individually and when they bring it all together it just sounds like one sound and a soloist,” Lewis said. “It just blends perfectly rather than sometimes being able to hear individual people.”
On the date of the release, the group held a performance and party at the Carolina Brewery and sold nearly 100 CDs. There, they received a surprise from Hanson.
“I surprised the kids and had a group come from NC State called the Grains of Time,” Hanson said. “They’re a guys’ group that they’ve sung with at other events in the past couple of years. They’re a big college group that they look up to, so I was able to get a hold of them and get enough of that group together to kind of show up and surprise them.”
What can be expected from Pitch Please in the future? According to Hanson, hopefully a lot more of the same. However, the group does plan to attend competitions, such as the International Championship of High School A Cappella, in coming years.
– By Sara Heilman