St. Louis ’05 Writes A Capella Arrangements

As the end of the last academic year approached, it was evident to all members that InSkip, the well known, student-run a capella group, needed an influx of new music. Already interested in creating a capella arrangements of songs, new lower Andy St. Louis ’05 searched for a solution that would help the group, as well as satisfying his own creative desires. St. Louis said, “InSkip was in a slump my lower year and I wanted to do something to help.” After St. Louis applied for and received the Mark Larner Memorial Fellowship at the end of the last school year, he decided to use the resources provided by the grant for arranging a cappella music for the group. The Fellowship is awarded annually to a member of the rising Upper or Senior class for summer work in the creative arts. The grant was established in 1969 by the class of 1969 in memory of their classmate, Mark A. Larner. The Larner Fellowship provided the perfect opportunity for St. Louis to compose and arrange music that he can bring to a larger audience. St. Louis also had the opportunity to improve his skills on the piano. Upon receiving the Fellowship, he began to think about contemporary songs that had not been arranged before in an a cappella format. “I basically took a couple of songs that I liked and listened to them straight through, then decided whether or not they would sound good once arranged a cappella,” St. Louis said. With no real past experience with arranging music, St. Louis turned to his old teacher, professional pianist Paul Cracchiolo, for professional and personal guidance. The majority of the grant money that St. Louis received went towards use of Cracchiolo’s time as well as his professional studio and equipment, which made the whole endeavor significantly easier for the new-found arranger. “Having a professional pianist on hand was invaluable for me, since I lack facility on the piano,” said St. Louis. “He helped an enormous deal with the arranging process itself.” The final results of 40 hours of course work over the summer were four a cappella arrangements of contemporary songs. Though St. Louis is keeping the names of the songs he arranged this summer a secret, the PA community does know that his works shall raise the performance works of on-campus a capella groups to a higher level of professionalism. The Academy community will have to wait until InSkip performs the arrangements during the school year to hear St. Louis’ arrangements.