New A Capella Group Emphasizes Enthusiasm over Experience

Clustered around the Armillary Sphere on the Great Lawn, the members of Cerulean, a new a cappella group, belt “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of their lungs. This rendition at the group’s first meeting, which Kelly McCarthy ’16, Cerulean’s co-founder, described to The Phillipian, was so loud that a student in the library came outside to tell the group that everyone inside the library could hear the singing.

“[When we are rehearsing], every single person in the club, even people who are normally so quiet, sings at the tops of [his or her] lungs and dances and has a great time, because the energy is truly just contagious. People feel comfortable, and I think a lot of people have made some really good new friends,” said McCarthy.
Creating positive energy is a central part of the club, which McCarthy and Kasey Welch ’16 founded this year.
“It’s a really fun group of people, and everybody’s really high-energy and optimistic and very nonjudgmental. I’m not saying that other a cappella groups are [judgemental], by any means, but we just have a lot of very inexperienced singers and very experienced singers, and nobody really cares,” said Welch.

Juan Pablo Ramos Barosso ’18, a member of Cerulean, said “I can’t sing, but I love to sing. [Cerulean] is a place where you can go and relax and sing your heart out. You can sing without being judged.”

The inspiration for creating the group came after McCarthy heard about colleges creating a cappella groups for students with mixed levels of experience. This inclusivity is a crucial aspect of Cerulean’s atmosphere and it impacts how members view the club meetings.

“I think what distinguishes Cerulean from other a cappella groups on campus is that the mission statement isn’t to be this amazing singing group. The mission statement is to spread happiness on campus and just de-stress and have a great time and sing, and we don’t have to feel this pressure to be good at it, which is really fun,” said McCarthy.

The group prefers to sing a mixture of different song types rather than focusing on one specific genre.
“Neither [McCarthy or I] are that musically gifted. The Yorkies and Azure and Keynotes do an amazing job of combining songs and putting them together in the right melody. [McCarthy] and I can’t do any of that, so we just choose a catchy song or a popular song that a lot of people know just from singing either in the locker room or around campus,” said Welch.

Even though McCarthy and Welch spontaneously decided to start the group during the club rally earlier this fall, Cerulean generated enough interest to form a complete group that will be performing in this year’s Grasshopper Night.

Barosso said, “[Grasshopper is] really exciting, and I think it’s a great opportunity for everyone to develop talent. It’s an opportunity to shine when people [will not] expect us to shine. My parents are coming and they thought I would never be able to sing, but here I am, in Cerulean, singing in front of a crowd.”

McCarthy said, “I think the reason we got into Grasshopper was because of the energy we bring, not because of our skill. We do a lot of dancing around and screaming and jumping and hugging each other, and it’s just this incredible energy that I think the Grasshopper producers were hoping to bring to their show.”