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How a cappella group CresHENdo made it through the pandemic

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The arrival of the pandemic last spring brought forth a new challenge for a cappella group “CresHENdo.”
Ryan DeRosa

Contributing Reporter

Senior Meghan Nevola has been involved in “CresHENdo,” an a cappella group at the university, for her entire college career. However, the arrival of the pandemic last spring brought forth a new challenge for both Nevola and the group: finding a way to rehearse while completely online.

“It’s been a pretty big adjustment,” Nevola, an elementary education major with a concentration in special education and minors in music and HDFS, said. “Thankfully, we’re able to have in-person rehearsal now, but for most of the pandemic, we had to move everything online.”

The nature of a cappella means that the team works best in-person. The move to an online environment called for adjustments to the team’s overall sound and performance, and members had a difficult time connecting with their typical sound.

“We can’t work on most of the things that we need to be successful, like blending, dynamics and other elements that make our songs sound great,” Nevola said. “We also couldn’t perform in the same way, so we weren’t really working towards an end goal.”

As time passed and more COVID-19 vaccines were administered, university student regulations loosened, meaning that CresHENdo was able to meet in-person again — albeit under certain restrictions.

“This semester has definitely been better,” Nevola said. “We’re now able to rehearse (six feet apart and in masks), so we can workshop songs and work on a lot of musical things that make our songs sound good. It’s still not perfect and totally back to normal, but I’ll take what we can get. We’ve also had more events where we can submit videos … and we can record in-person, which is much easier than when we were completely online.”

The members practice for two hours per rehearsal, three times a week, adding up to six hours of practice per week.

“Now that we’re able to be six feet apart, we can stand closer and have more people come in a smaller room, which has been great,” Nevola said. “We’re also able to now meet outside of the student centers, so we can hang out as friends again and hold small sectionals together on our own time.”

Jessica Baliatico, a junior and president of the CresHENdo’s, describes the hurdles her group had to overcome due to restrictions.

“Originally we were limited to only 11 people in person but we had 15 people in our group so we weren’t all able to be there which was difficult,” Baliatico said. “We had to arrange assigned rehearsals to different people. Soon into second semester these rules changed and we were able to all rehearse together and it made things a lot easier and made us feel more prepared for our concert.”

Now that restrictions are being slowly lifted, the group is practicing more and regaining their ability to perform in front of a small audience.

“So far all of our performances have been virtual, but luckily we are able to have a limited audience for our concert on May 7th which is really exciting!” Baliatico said.

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