This past year, Summit Street, an acapella group formed by students at Eastern Michigan, recorded an album and represented Eastern in the 2021 International Championship of Collegiate Acapella (ICCA).
They advanced to the quarterfinals in the ICCA competition. They competed against 3,500 performers, comprising 250 groups brought together from universities across 33 states and five countries.
“I think it was pretty incredible what we were able to do, simply being a singing group that was able to compete in the ICCA at a high level while not being able to meet in person,” said David Garvey, the Vice-President and Interim Tech Director of Summit Street. “Especially considering this is only the second year that we’ve been an organization.”
The recording process for the album commenced shortly after the beginning of the 2021 winter semester at EMU. The group members had rehearsal tracks that they took into the studio to practice to, and each had their own individual sessions to be in compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
Garvey, also the producer and engineer for the album, organized the sessions with the focus on being as safe as possible but also efficient and conducive to capturing the best performances. “Each of the singers did two sessions that were about two to three hours long. After they were done I would go in and clean and make sure everything was ok, and that’s the way we got through all of the songs.”
The song, and arrangements, chosen for the album were agreed upon by the group after a process of members bringing songs that they wanted to do to the table, and discussing. The final seal of approval as to what would go on the album came from the music director.
Among the pieces chosen and arranged for the album are songs like “All of Me” by John Legend, “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi, and a mashup of Awol Nations “Sail” and Hoziers “Take Me To Church”.
The current president and returning group member of Summit Street, Noah Askew, has very fond memories of the recording process despite all the difficulties that being an acapella group, attempting to sing separately, brought.
“Hearing a mix of everyone’s audio being played together and listening to that as a group through zoom was always such a rewarding experience. Everyone in the group is so talented and to hear them all together is such an honor and phenomenal experience,” said Askew.
Askew felt that the group was able to turn the negative of being separated by COVID into a positive, in a number of ways, but especially in getting closer as a group.
“I truly think being virtual only started a yearning to get together one day soon. Because of that feeling, I think the group always wanted to stay in contact as we lost in person bonding to the pandemic,” he continued, stating, “The need for in-person interaction has been reciprocated over the last two semesters. When we were finally able to meet socially distanced in person, everyone was ecstatic to meet up.”
The album, Summit Street: Maroon, can be streamed at Summit Street’s linktree.