In downtown Johnson City, ETSU acapella groups Swashbucklers and Harmonium performed for a full house at The Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room.
Men’s Swashbucklers and women’s Harmonium are both voluntary music groups comprised of individuals who simply love to sing and perform acapella. Though they are ETSU sponsored groups, the efforts of the singers are student-led.
While many ETSU music groups may count as an academic credit or as a scholarship requirement, Swashbucklers and Harmonium are essentially designed for students who just want to have fun in performing.
Freshman Abigail Brown is a music major, and as a part of her music scholarships, she is a member of the music groups Chorale and Women’s Belles. It’s just in her leisurely time when she sings for Harmonium.
“It’s just a side thing I love to do,” Brown said.
As for Swashbucklers, two years back, vocal music education major Shawn Salley was approached by one of his music directors and asked to lead a men’s acapella group. Since then, Salley has coordinated all of the vocals and picks out the songs the Swashbucklers perform.
“I get people’s opinions and ask what they would like to do, but ultimately it’s me putting together the set,” Salley said.
Senior Nate Couper performed in ETSU’s Greyscale for his junior year, but as he’s coming upon his graduation date, he wasn’t able to commit year-long to Greyscale.
Though, as Swashbucklers is semester-based, Couper was still able to do what he loves.
“I found out that I really missed acapella music,” Couper said. “But I didn’t exactly have the time for Greyscale, because it’s much more intensive.”
Couper describes Swashbucklers as a fun group that is “laid back” and has “a lot more leeway” when it comes to practicing.
“It’s really been awesome, because it’s exactly what I wanted,” Couper said. “But we still work hard.”
Like Harmonium, Salley said Swashbucklers is “just a bunch of guys who like to sing coming together.”
Harmonium and Swashbucklers showcased an excellent performance at the Willow Tree. Their songs ranged from a variety of popular songs, and they did well in covering them. The women’s harmony and the men’s vocal range were well-coordinated, and I hope to hear more from them.
The two groups will be performing more as the semester continues and will continue so long as there are men and women dedicated to singing.