By Ashley Davis
There’s a new group in town among the many vocal ensembles here at Baylor. They’re called VirtuOso and it looks like they’re here to stay.
The group was first started by Dr. Aaron Hufty, lecturer of music, in the fall 2012 semester. Hufty also directs the Baylor Women’s Choir and teaches Choral Conducting, Applied Conducting and Introduction to Music as well as VirtuOso.
VirtuOso is a new a cappella group made up of 13 singers of different majors and musical backgrounds.
The group will hold a concert at 7:30 p.m. today in the North Village Community Center. This event is free and open to the public.
The group will be singing selections it has been working on since last semester as well as new songs.
The concert is being held as a formal run-through of the group’s program for the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.
They will compete in the south quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the University of Georgia in the Morton Theatre. Tickets for this event can be bought online at www.mortontheatre.tix.com.
If VirtuOso is successful in the quarterfinals, they will then move on to the semifinals at 7 p.m. March 23 in Ingram Hall at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. If they are successful in Nashville, they will advance to the Lincoln Center in New York City for the final round on April 20.
VirtuOso sings a variety of songs, ranging from country to rock to alternative and jazz. The group takes current songs and arranges them specifically for their unique a cappella sound with tight harmonies. The arrangements also include vocal percussion and sound effects to enhance the musical experience of the audience.
Their current program consists of selections from Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Paramore and others.
Hufty said the School of Music approached him about putting a new ensemble together last summer.
“I started researching different a cappella styles and I found that this was the most current,” Hufty said.
Hufty said that by starting this kind of ensemble, he wanted to send a message of wholesome entertainment to Baylor and the Waco area. Rowlett graduate student Jonathan Pilgrim, who is a member of the group, said he is excited to be a part of VirtuOso.
“It kind of came under the radar with auditions last semester and I really wanted to be a part of it,” Pilgrim said.
“Music is a sacred trust. For people to be able to get out there and share their experience through song is a real gift. I think it shows that we can be hip, fun and current and not be profane,” Hufty said. “It’s refreshing to see kids do something like that.”
All of the group’s songs are arranged by one of their own tenors, San Antonio sophomore John Brooks.
VirtuOso has also scheduled a spring show at 7:30 p.m. April 5 and 6 in the Hooper-Schaefer Theater.
This event will also be free and open to the public.
You can follow VirtuOso on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BaylorVirtuOso and on Twitter @BaylorVirtuOso. There are also audio clips of some of the group’s songs available on the Facebook site.