HomeContemporary A Cappella League Spotlight: Cognitive Resonance

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Recently, I had the pleasure of contacting Dave Sroka from a brand-new a cappella group, Cognitive Resonance (CognitiveResonanceACappella.com). The group is from the Raleigh, NC area. After watching the first season of The Sing-Off, Dave and Jenn met up and decided to form a mixed, collegiate-style group…  

Your name is so cerebral...how did you come about naming the group?
“My co-founder [Jenn Fiduccia] and I had a brain-storming session where we tried to think of as many phrases and terms that contained a covert sound or music reference. Most were pretty silly and ‘punny’, but over the course of bantering phrases back and forth, we ended up landing on Cognitive Resonance, which we imagined to be the opposite of cognitive dissonance. The name really reflected the thoughtful approach we wanted to take, and the idea of all the members of the group resonating as one unit in vocal blend and mindset, so it stuck!”

What about The Sing-Off (other than being AWESOME) was inspiring to you and Jenn?
“I think the biggest thing that the first season of The Sing-Off did for me personally was make me step back and say ‘Wait...people still DO this? And enough other people [have an interest in] it to put it on network television and have it be successful?’  It's funny [to think that] now after meeting so many wonderful people through CASA who love this as much as I do. But at the time, it hadn't even occurred to me to look for a way to perform this style of music outside of college. The Sing-Off made me desperately want to find a way.”

How do you go about finding songs to arrange/perform?
“Our members suggest songs, usually along the lines of ‘I think this would be awesome for ____'s voice’.  We're still young, but it seems to be working so far.”

What kinds of backgrounds do members have right now?  School, jobs, families, etc?
“We cover the spectrum!  We have stay-at-home moms, an IT manager and an IT consultant, an environmental engineer, a local radio personality, an audio engineer, a counselor, a proposal manager, just-recently-graduated grad students.  What ties us all together is our love for a cappella!”

Did any of you sing while in high school or college?  I would assume that you all did...
“Yes, everyone in the group sang while in high school or college, many both.”

How often do you rehearse?  Where? 
“We rehearse once a week on Wednesday nights at one of our members’ workplaces (a local radio station).”

Where do you see yourself in five years?
“Hopefully continuing to delight audiences in the Triangle area, with a few recordings under our belt!”

What groups/musicians are influential on your sound? 
“That's a tough question to answer, as we're still finding our sound.  I think the groups that are, perhaps, the most inspiring to us right now are Sonos (www.sonosings.com) and The Swingle Singers (www.swinglesingers.com), because they have such a defined sense of who they are and what they do well.”

You have auditions soon...who exactly are you looking for?
“We’re looking for a versatile female who can hold her own on both Soprano and Alto parts, and a Tenor with a good upper range. We're also looking for a strong, dedicated Vocal Percussionist.  We'll be holding auditions on Saturday, September 10th. Contact auditions@CognitiveResonanceACappella.com for more information and to schedule an audition.”

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About the author:
Christina Smith is the Director of Choirs for Mad River Local Schools in Dayton, OH.  She is currently in her sixteenth year of teaching.  Her concert choirs consistently perform at the top of their classification, and her pop a cappella group, Down to the Wire, is enjoying success at community functions and a cappella festivals around the state.  Christina is an active Ohio Music Education Association adjudicator and choral clinician.  In addition to her adjudicating and teaching duties, she enjoys singing with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Choir (Dayton, OH) and also in pick-up a cappella groups as a soprano.