By Meghan Gallagher
Instruments, especially percussions, have long been the backbone to vocals. Lord knows I can’t sing without the beat guiding me, and even then, I’m encouraged to leave it to the real singer. So, when the all-female a cappella group from UF, Sedoctaves, entered Narrow’s radar, impressed was an understatement. Their work needs not an accompaniment, with the chilling effect of their harmonies, the moving way they carry each other through a song and how they nail bass notes, putting a rest to the assumptions that females can’t hit those low tones.
The empowering group of females are living out a collegiate lifestyle to envy, full of accomplishments, learning and sisterhood. They are the real-life Pitch Perfect, minus the excessive drama and sassy judges, but the competitions and processes draw many parallels. Like the Bellas, the Sedoctaves have spent endless hours learning their general repertoire, preparing submission videos, and then preparing their performances for competitions such as ICCAs, which they have participated in the past 7 years.
However, after watching their ICCA 2018 performance, I sensed more serious, sophisticated tones from the Sedoctaves compared to the more comical Bellas. They are spooky good, and I feel as though you haven’t fully experienced certain songs until hearing them done a cappella. The Sedoctaves version of Arianna Grande’s “God is a Woman” turns the pop song into something special, breaking it down, emphasizing every word. I should also note how appropriate the song was for them, being a group of strong, uplifting women.
““We are all friends, we genuinely do care about each other, the wellbeing of the group survives from that,” says rising Junior and Sedoctaves’ president Hannah Rarick.
“We spend the first rehearsals catching up, highs and lows, our way to refresh everything, we need to hear about everyone's lives outside a cappella, because it can be very consuming.”
And as Rarick notes, a cappella is an activity the girls are doing outside of studying journalism, biology and other non-music related majors, “It’s their side thing, but you would never know it.”
Rarick joined her freshman year to stay on top of her voice. Not knowing much about a cappella was a challenge for Rarick, but she caught on like a natural. Now, she’s that girl on campus beatboxing to herself en route to class. However, being a crowd-pleasing solo artist does not ensure your spot as a “Sedoc.” Singing is just the beginning when it comes to a cappella.
“A lot of solo artists can’t match tones or blend with other girls. If you’re not a team player, a cappella is not for you,” Rarick shares. She also shares that people are often taken aback when the Sedoctaves drop it low to those bass tones.
“When people are surprised that an all-female group has great basses, I’m like . . . Have you heard Adele?”
We should be hearing their arrangement of Billie Eilish’s “Ocean Eyes” And Lord Huron’s “Night We Met” very soon and will continue to look forward to them bringing us a new way to experience music, converting the song we love into new pieces of art awaiting to be cherished. They currently perform philanthropic events such as Tyler’s Hope Foundation and most recently are working on recording at the Skylab Recording Studio in Gainesville.