SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 1, 2013

Singing their way to the Big Apple

Salem High's a cappella choir to compete in national finals

SALEM — Salem High School’s a cappella choir, WitchPitch? will represent the Northeast and compete against high schools from all over the U.S. in three weeks.

But first, they’ll perform for the home crowd.

WitchPitch? will join Redline, a professional a cappella group from Boston, on Thursday night for a fundraiser concert at Salem High School. Proceeds will go toward travel expenses to New York for the national finals.

This spring marks the third year that WitchPitch? has won the New England regional semifinals, advancing them to the Varsity Vocals International Championship of High School A Cappella.

They’ll compete against nine other high schools from across the U.S. on April 19 in New York City.

“This is our chance to push ourselves as far was we can go,” senior Catherine Majeski said. “(This year), we’ve learned to be a lot more authentic in our execution of the music — getting to the core of what the music means.”

The 18-member group has put countless hours into polishing its 12-minute routine this winter, hoping to impress the judges. WitchPitch? will perform a mix of five songs, unaccompanied, with choreography.

“We emulate the sound of a full band with our voices,” explained Derek Dupuis, a junior who has arranged some of the group’s music.

“There’s something special when there’s no other instruments involved,” senior Austin Sholds agreed.

The group’s repertoire follows an arc of emotions, Majeski said, from love and lust to loss and happiness.

It’s “exhausting” to portray those feelings, through song, in the span of 12 minutes, said Meryl Schultz, a Salem High senior and WitchPitch? president.

When it comes together, it’s “amazing,” she said.

“You’re thinking about a million things at once (the music, choreography, etc.), without letting it show on your face,” senior Kimberly Barzola said. “You have to put your best foot forward, every time you perform.”

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