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I hate all-female a cappella. Hate it. Loathe it. Cannot stand half of the things that grace the stage. That being said, I have only been in all-female a cappella and am  the music director of FSU AcaBelles, so it's quite a contradiction to absolutely hate what I absolutely love. 

All in all....hmm how do I put this.... Dear Ladies, it's time to get ballsy! There is no need to fall-back on high notes, looking cute, and bopping. NO NEED! Stop telling me how you have all this attitude and how sassy you are, and just show me!

I recently had the chance to see six all-female groups perform in one day and each and every one of them made me put my head in my hands for the name of all-female a cappella. I don't understand how so many female groups try to compete with the boys (mixed groups included) and just don't bring it. Granted, there's something to be said for being of the fairer sex. There is most definitely a time and place for cute, bopping, and a lyrical-style arm in the air. BUT give me something else! There's so much more to being a woman. Where's your vulnerability, your strength, those yummy alto voices, that sense of "we're here and you better deal with it"? It's all covered in a tinny, top heavy sound that sounds like three voices when there is clearly twenty girls on stage.

These are my biggest gripes:

1) Grow some balls. And I don't mean it in the please shoot yourself up with testosterone way, nor do I mean to be just like the guys. I just mean that it often seems like all-female groups are afraid to show up and show that there's more to us than being cute or pretty. It's like, "Yes ladies, you're gorgeous and your outfits are cute but can you please 'sang'?" I know that you all can sing louder than that and just give the audience more of yourselves which...News Flash: It's completely ok to do so!! This is also coming from a  guy's girl. Someone who curses, drinks beer, eats wings, watches sports, and gets along with guys way better than girls...so I guess it's a slightly biased opinion. But as someone who stood on the stage of Alice Tully Hall with my all-female group while competing against five all-male groups last year, I've come to learn that that's almost the attitude you NEED to bring!

2) Stop trying to be sexy and just be sexy. Really, stop trying....unless your song absolutely calls for it. But trust me, I sat watching all of these groups with four guys and all they did was decide which girls were hot, which were not, and who they'd maybe hook up with if they were drunk. As women, we automatically ooze sex on stage. It's all to do with certain curves that we have that the boys don't. Now yes, sex sells....but it doesn't necessarily win competitions or win audiences over. I don't want to spend your whole performance worried that if your skirt/dress goes any higher, I may get a show that I definitely did not pay for. Actually, if you're going to put any gaggle of girls on stage...the sex is already going to be there, don't try to force it whether it's through outfits or your choreography. Just take a step back, make sure you're still classy and just let the sexy happen.

3) No one wants to hear 15 girls sing high F's. This one is pretty much for music directors and arrangers and it could just be my taste...BUT could you please just pack it low? Sopranos come a dime a dozen and I know that they're pretty much who auditions for you, but you don't need to make them all sing in the stratosphere all of the time....actually, you don't need anyone singing in the stratosphere any of the time. One of my friends just said "Yea, there was that one girl that was just stabbing me in the head with an ice pick of high notes." Which is exactly what it feels like! If you have bright singers and that's the color you like, go ahead and run with it...but as an audience member, I will personally be wincing in pain from a lack of low that I know some of your girls could probably bring.

4) For the love of all things music, must you bop? Self-explanatory. A choreographed bop or step-touch does not do anything musically or visually except annoy the audience and make us wonder "WHY????" If you're going to move/dance please make sure there's a purpose.

5) Bring it! Just do. Stop being timid. Stop relying on cute. Just show us you can sing  and you can do it well. If you have an amahhhhzing soloist, use her! If you don't, avoid her! Just show us why you do what you do and that you love it. Oh and this is an everybody note: If you look bored, I will be bored and wonder why the heck I'm watching you instead of just listening to a recording. But seriously, make me want to yell "Girl, you better SANG!!!"

I am so desperately pleading to not hate all-female a cappella any longer, but until some groups decide to man up and just do it....I guess I'll be keeping my head in my hands.




Amen, sister!

Amen, sister!


Finally someone says something about the step-touch!!! It has bothered me for years and is really annoying at this point! The more the altos, the better the female group...guarenteed.

Yes, Yes, Yes!

Any ladies' group would be wise to follow your advice!


Yep, for some reason the gods were looking down on me and blessed me with an alto that can sing first space 'A' on the bass clef and four others that can sing that beautiful low D...BUT, even so when I figured out the sound of this year's 'Belles I made sure I had twice as many altos as sopranos (12 to 6). That way everything is fuller and richer.

AND I'd much rather just watch that awkward chick in the back bouncing off beat than ever see another step-touch again! (You know every group has at least one...)

Lo Barreiro a.k.a. LoLo BaRoRo or BaLaLaLa or LoLo McRidic or JelloKitty or Lil Rhombus or Brown Sugah The Vocal Company CASA Ambassador- Greater Boston Area Musae [url=http://

Ha! So true!

As the representative awkward chick in my group, I have to agree.  Spontaneous, inspired movement is so much more interesting than tapping that probably doesn't evoke any of the song's character.




Rachel Ann : A'caphiliac

Marry me?


I love you.  Seriously.  Don't let them hear me say this, but every girl group I've ever performed with is exactly like this.  Maybe the Tupelos 3 years ago were an exception.

In other news, every girl in any group (co-ed or all-female) should go and watch this (http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=659284097399&ref=share).  Girls can have balls.


Alex Green
Plaid Productions A Cappella recording and production
Overboard Boston A Cappella '10-'11
The Tufts Amalgamates '06

Girl Balls

"Yea, there was that one girl that was just stabbing me in the head with an ice pick of high notes." Man that was an awesome metaphor. That friend of yours must be hilarious!

Stephen Hutchings
Music Director, UGA Accidentals

UGA With Someone Else's Money (2007-2009)
UGA Accidentals (2009- )

i agree

cool stuff

Although that recording is def awesome, I think she was talking more about live performances. Both totally separate beasts that groups deal with. I've heard groups that sound awesome live and their cds are so-so and groups that their cds sound awesome and their live performance sound sub-par. It's groups that can tackle both that are highly respected in this field. Actually, tackling either really well is an awesome place to start :)  P.S. do you have more samples of the shockwaves CD, or a place to purchase it? I looked and couldn't find, a link would be awesome! 

Angela Ugolini
The Vocal Company http://www.thevocalcompany.com
Musae (2010-present)
Red States (2010-11)
Empire (2010-11) MD
FSU AcaBelles (2005-09) MD 2008-09

you should be able to get it

you should be able to get it here:



or email rushockwave@gmail.com and you can set something up. 


You Should Check out U of O's Divisi! Those are some WOH-MEN


I second that heartily...

One of my friends directed

One of my friends directed Divisi for a while. She always goes on about how incredible they are. :)

EDIT: I lied. She directed Divine from OSU. Hahah. Which is also an amazing women's a cappella group.

Lauren is very well aware of

Lauren is very well aware of divisi and their awesomeness, I promise :) If she had a list of  girl groups to try and follow, they'd be at the top, along with byu noteworthy, the sapphires etc. Being her best friend, I know this for sure! Infact, she decided not to arrange "Mama who bore me" because she didn't think that Divisi's version could be topped! 

Angela Ugolini
The Vocal Company http://www.thevocalcompany.com
Musae (2010-present)
Red States (2010-11)
Empire (2010-11) MD
FSU AcaBelles (2005-09) MD 2008-09

Ummmm yea...

A) So glad my best friend can talk on my behalf....no real need for me to comment, I guess. Haha! B) Trust....I already have a sincere and deep appreciation for Divisi. They are a large part of the reason I feel the way I do and what I base my group's sound on. And Ang was right I stopped arranging "Mama Who Bore Me" AND "I Can't Make You Love Me" because I respect their versions too much. 

Lo Barreiro a.k.a. LoLo BaRoRo or BaLaLaLa or LoLo McRidic or JelloKitty or Lil Rhombus or Brown Sugah The Vocal Company CASA Ambassador- Greater Boston Area Musae [url=http://

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