HomePitch perfect: Exploring a cappella audition traditions

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The “midnight meeting,” an a cappella tradition often thought to be shrouded in mystery and intrigue, will be held Thursday to determine which auditioners have earned a spot in one of Brown’s 11 a cappella groups. With every a cappella group member in attendance, this week’s meeting, the culmination of two weeks of auditions and callbacks, will kick off a cappella’s spring season.

“Crazy,” “intense” and “stressful” are just a few of the adjectives a cappella “Czar” and Brown Derby Josh Linden ’14 used to describe the atmosphere of the late-night meeting. Though Linden said the meeting usually becomes hectic, he said its organizers use a well-ordered system to place singers into the group with which they are most compatible. The Czar, who is elected annually, is responsible for maintaining order at the meeting and ensuring that all groups have an equal shot at securing their desired singers.

Before the meeting, each auditioner lists his or her preferences of groups on a notecard. Once the groups have evaluated each auditioner and selected their top prospects, they are ready for the midnight meeting to begin. The “elves,” who are third-party participants in the meeting that do not belong to any a cappella group, assist the Czar in handling preference cards and assigning singers to groups.

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