Every a cappella group has a story. In this unique, episodic, narrative feature we will trace the formation and first, tumultuous year in the history of The Acapocalypse.
Josh Phillips stood at the front of the lecture hall, his back to a podium, a chalkboard, a pull-down projection screen. The hall stretched out to easily 200 hundred seats, arranged in stadium-style. The place was easily as large as the biggest classroom at Shermantown Community College. Here at Grand State, it was probably just another room, one that would be readily available for an a cappella group like The Grand Standers to host its auditions.
“So you’re Josh Phillips.” A guy with a mess of curly black hair read from his clipboard. He looked up, and looked at him in such a way that communicated confidence, smugness, and the slightest hint of a challenge. “Tell us a little about yourself.”
Josh felt very small standing in front of them. In truth, he had felt that small sensation since he started at SCC that fall, much like when he first set foot in high school. Every graduation left you standing tall. Every new beginning cut you back down to size.
“I’m a freshman, majoring in hotel management.”
“We have a hotel management major?” the guy with the black hair asked.
The girl next to him, a knockout with brown hair that stretched well past her shoulders, turned over a page in her clipboard. “And what’s with the address? Freshmen have to live in the dorms.”
Josh figured there was no sense prolonging this part. “I don’t actually go to school here. I’m at SCC. Hoping to transfer in next year.”
The girl smiled. “Sweetheart, this group’s for Grand State students only.”
“I just figured since I’m planning to come here anyway—”
“Current Grand State students.” The smile faded by degrees.
Josh ran a hand through his close-cut blond hair. “It’s just—I’ve been in my high school a cappella group for three years. I was even the student director my senior year. And I’ve been a fan of The Grand Standers forever. I even went to see you guys compete at the semifinals last year—where you robbed, if you don’t mind my saying—”
“Listen, kid,” the guy cut him off. “We appreciate the support, and we appreciate the interest. But why don’t you stop back after you transfer. The group’s still going to be here.”
The group would still be there, but one year of college would have gone by—one year of not performing, one year of missing out on what he loved to do. Most of SCC had never even heard of a cappella. They didn’t even have a group.
Josh came into the audition with visions of wining them over with his charm and, more importantly, the Bruno Mars solo he had spent weeks preparing. But he would never get to that part. He thanked them for the time and made his way out of the lecture hall.