A Cappella Extravaganza lights up Schofield Auditorium

A Cappella members explain their passion for making music together

Jenna Erickson

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Eau Claire eats
April 2, 2020

Photo by Jenna Erickson

A Capella group performing at the Extravaganza in Schofield Auditorium.

Last Friday night, a performance was held by music and non-music majors that kept the audience singing, clapping and wanting to get up on the stage themselves. 

UW-Eau Claire’s Voice and Choral department presented the annual A Cappella Extravaganza event as a part of the 28th Annual Clearwater Choral Festival on Oct. 18 in Schofield Auditorium, according to the event description on Facebook. 

Noah Druckrey, a fourth-year critical theory student and a member of Fifth Element — one of the co-ed groups on campus — for seven semesters, said he loves how being in an a capella group allows him to still be involved in music for fun. 

“I’m always going to love music and what it has done for my community and for my mental health,” Druckrey said. “I don’t ever see it not being a part of my life, whether I’m helping to make music or just listening to someone else’s.”

Fifth Element is a mixed-gender a cappella ensemble that strives to make music together that enriches both their members and students at UW-Eau Claire, according to the UW-Eau Claire Voice and Choral Activities Facebook page. 

Druckrey said the best part about performing with Fifth Element is easily the community. 

“Because of Fifth Element I’ve been a groomsmen, I met my significant other, and I’ve felt more included at the university than I have anywhere else,” Druckrey said.

Now that he is the senior member of the group, he said he wants to make sure he’s not just focusing on the musical aspect — which remains incredibly important — but in maintaining the amicable environment that helped him make so many friends in the group.

As well as having upperclassmen involved, the a cappella groups on campus are open to students of all ages.

Ashley Bissen, a first-year journalism student and member of Callisto, said she wanted to join one of the groups because she missed being able to sing with a tight-knit group of people like she did in high school. 

“I felt like I clicked really easily with all the girls in Callisto,” Bissen said. “And I am always excited to go to rehearsals every week knowing that I get to sing and perform with so many amazing women.”

Callisto, established in 1993, is an all female-identifying treble a cappella group, according to the Facebook event page

Callisto has various performances during the year and loves to sing and have fun together, according to the event page. Callisto’s core values include the empowerment of women and the LGBTQ community.

Another student involved with an a cappella ensemble is Rebecca Blaedow, a second-year music education choral student and a member of the co-ed group, Impromptu. 

According to the Facebook event website, Impromptu is a mixed a cappella ensemble that has put on concerts of classic hits, mash-ups and pop songs for audiences of all ages to enjoy for the past 27 years,.

Blaedow said she appreciates and loves how she gets to perform and work with UW-Eau Claire students who all have different majors and hold different interests yet still all have a collective love for music.

“My favorite part about a capella on campus is having the opportunity to share our wide varieties of talent with members of the community,” Blaedow said. “Not everyone in Impromptu are music majors, so it’s a lot of fun being able to perform with them.”

Another aspect about Impromptu that Blaedow said she loves is that everyone in the group writes their own arrangements to perform, she said.

“Every song you hear Impromptu perform was arranged by one of our members, which is so fun,” Blaedow said. “We also do a lot of pop-culture music rather than classical, which is exciting.”

For more information about future a cappella concerts, check the UW-Eau Claire Voice and Choral Activities Facebook event page.

Erickson can be reached at [email protected]