A cappella singers hope to grow community

As most of Guilford College began to quiet down after a long day of classes, Friend Sings My Mind, Guilford’s coeducational a cappella group, was just beginning to convene. From 8p.m. to 10p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16, Friend Sings My Mind held auditions for students who wanted to join the group.

These auditions are held at the beginning of every semester to give fellow Guilford students many opportunities to join.

“We want to share music with Guilford and to have some people come sing with us,” said senior Ellie Pershing, a member of the a cappella group.

Once new members have been selected, the a cappella group begins practicing their song selections for performances. Friend Sings My Mind has a showcase at the end of each semester where they perform a variety of songs they have practiced throughout that semester. In the past, the group has given other performances at Guilford, gone Christmas caroling and participated in open mic nights.

However, members of the group, such as junior Sommer Fanney, are open to different performances throughout the semester if the occasion arises.

“We don’t really plan things throughout the semester because we just take things as they come,” said Fanney.

In preparation for performances, Friend Sings My Mind’s practices focus on the overall harmony of the group in addition to the notes themselves.

“We want to work on the musicality of our group instead of just learning notes,” said Pershing. “(We focus on) … sounding cohesive and working on that musical aspect as opposed to just memorization.”

Through focusing on musicality and harmony, Friend Sings My Mind hopes to create a larger impact on the Guilford community. To do this, the group looks forward to bringing more students into Friend Sings My Mind.

“We want to be more organized and to have a stronger presence on campus,” said Fanney. “And also have some people come sing with us.”

While students may think of auditions as intimidating, students in Friend Sings My Mind understand what it is like to audition and try to be welcoming to potential group members.

“I really was not going to do (an audition) because I was terrified,” said Fanney. “But I ended up doing it, and I really like it.”

Friend Sings My Mind currently has members in all different grade levels and majors. Despite these differences, the group is able to come together through their love for music and singing.

For students such as junior Risa Suzuki, an exchange student from Japan, joining the group occurred naturally at Guilford. Suzuki discovered Friend Sings My Mind through a club table in Founders Hall.

“I’ve been singing in choirs in high school and in church choirs in Japan, and I wanted to continue singing,” said Suzuki. “In Founders, I found a table for Friend Sings My Mind and I talked to Sommer. I got to know this group and I decided to join it.”

As Friend Sings My Mind begins a new semester, they look forward to the opportunities that will arise. Through hard work and dedication, the group hopes to grow both their talent and their impact on campus, while doing something they enjoy.

“I enjoy community involvement and when people join us,” said Fanney. “We like to make music and have fun.”