Group gains momentum

Campus a cappella group increases in members this year

Reading music makes the a cappella rehearsal process easier, says Momentum musical director Dan Boyle.
Reading music makes the a cappella rehearsal process easier, says Momentum musical director Dan Boyle.
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A cappella group Momentum requires that all its members can read music, says musical director Dan Boyle.

“We get a lot of people who are amazing except they can’t read music. It’s just a much faster pace in rehearsal if everyone can read through music right away and figure it out by themselves,” Boyle, ArtSci ’12, said.

Momentum, who recently performed at TedxQueensU, was created in September 2009. It’s the oldest co-ed a cappella singing group ratified by the AMS.

Boyle said Momentum’s audition process is rigorous.

“Each person who comes in sings a song they’ve prepared of their own choice in a cappella in two minutes,” he said. “We have them sing scales on the piano to see their range … We have a few exercises where they have to read music or match rhythms.”

According to Boyle, a cappella involves using your body as an instrument.

“Sometimes using your body, like snapping or clapping, is using yourself as the instrument,” he said.

Boyle said Momentum looks for venues that provide acoustic benefits.

“As an a cappella choir and as a choir that doesn’t use a lot of amplification, we go for places where people are there just to hear us, where we’re the only sound,” he said.

Momentum president Carmen D’Amours said her favourite place to perform is in the Robert Sutherland room of the JDUC.

“[The room] is just brilliant. We also sing in a circle when we rehearse so we can face each other, but it’s totally spoiling ourselves because when you perform, you don’t do it in a circle,” D’Amours, ArtSci ’12, said.

Momentum practices every Thursday for two and a half hours and holds one formal rehearsal per month.

The group uses an even number of males and females separated into different vocal ranges.

“There’s six parts and we have three people to each part. There’s basses, baritones and tenors in the mens’ voices, then there’s altos, second sopranos and sopranos in womens’ voices,” D’Amours said.

The group has seen a healthy growth, she said.

“We started with a core group of eight people, but people came and went throughout the entire year,” she said.

“In our second year we had 14 people, and now we have 18.”

D’Amours said though the group doesn’t compete in a cappella singing competitions, she hopes they can widen their horizons.

“We really want to take a trip to another university,” she said. “Not To compete, but definitely perform with another a cappella group.”

D’Amours said the name Momentum came from a joking discussion.

“We were adamant about not being Glee,” she said, “We were thinking about cheesy a cappella group names and when someone said ‘Momentum,’ we were like, ‘Hahaha — oh wait,’” she said.

Ahmed Himada, ConEd ’12, is the group’s secretary. He said the Ted conference event allowed Momementum to connect with other a cappella groups and students.

“We want to gain an audience,” he said.

Himada said he joined Momentum because of his love for singing.

“For me, Momentum is one of the few things I look forward to every week and it’s just really fun … I also have a really good falsetto, so I get to show it off.”

Recording of a cappella group -

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol (Momentum A Cappella Cover) by Queen's Journal

- Audio by Justin Chin

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