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Ain’t no pitch high enough

Ben Newby, Staff Reporter - November 14, 2012

Central Washington University’s own a capella group, Nada Cantata, has been making quite a lot of noise around the Washington area at concerts and competitions. They perform hit songs and arrangements that span genres and decades. Because this style of music is unique is they perform without the accompaniment of instruments. They use only their voices.

Composed of 17 Central students, including director Isaiah Ragland and co-director Amelia Blunt, Nada Cantata has reached some notable milestones in the three short years they have been together. At the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella (ICCA) competition last year in Oregon, former member Daniel McCafferty won an award for “Outstanding Arrangement” for his rendition of Sara McLachlan’s “When She Loved Me.”

Aside from competitions, Nada Cantata travels to other universities in Washington such as Pacific Lutheran University and Western Washington University, to perform. We’re “pretty tight knit,” said Ragland, Nada Cantata director, of their relationship with other a capella groups in Washington State.

“We stay in contact. When we go to their concerts we open for them, or when they come to Central they open for us.”

Performing songs a capella is similar to performing in a choir, just without the instruments.

“A lot of us have extensive choir experience,” Raglund said. When practicing, Nada Cantata will learn with the support of instruments, and then strip it away to just the groups’ voices.

Nada Cantata performs many pop radio and contemporary hits spanning the decades. They can be heard singing Van Morrison, Coldplay and even a “medley that could contain Carly Rae Jepsen,” Raglund said.

Aside from warming up the group, Raglund and co-director Blunt’s duties involve picking out songs, which they do over the summer.

Come fall, auditions are held, and 40 or 50 usually try out, Raglund said. That large number is whittled down to the best fits for the group, which is usually composed of 15-17 students.

Nada Cantata has a busy schedule ahead of them this year, including another competition at the ICCA in Oregon and the Annual Northwest A Capella Concert (ANWAC) at Western Washington University.

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