At first glance the rehearsal of the Sheritones, Sheridan’s non-auditioned a cappella group, seems like an impromptu gathering of friends. Everyone is comfortable with each other and there is happy chatter around the room. Someone enters late and a series of questions are shot off: Name, program, favourite alien movie and vocal range? The woman quickly replies: “Vanessa, Animation, alto.” Then, hesitantly, “Aliens.” There was a laugh, she sat down, and the singing began.
It was when the whole ensemble, about 20 students strong, began singing that the atmosphere changed. Everyone became enthralled in their parts and in becoming one tone in a melody of voices. Kristian Solomon, a first-year Journalism student who switched over from the Broadcast program started the club in 2014 when he realized the college was lacking a vocal ensemble. “I posted on the Sheridan Facebook page, just a simple question like, ‘Hey, does anyone want to start an a cappella club with me?,’ and the response was pretty overwhelming,” he says.
Above: The Sheritones performing a rendition of Bastille’s hit song Pompeii
Now in its second year, members of the Sheritones are hoping to make it to the next International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, or ICCA, in the United States, which takes place in January 2017. “That’s our ultimate goal. We haven’t been able to do that in the past because we are relatively new club,” explains Solomon. While they have hopes of competing, the purpose of the club is relaxation. “I think that a lot of people would agree that it’s a nice, very calm atmosphere,” he says. “We have people with choir experience and we have people who haven’t sung their entire lives. Just getting to bond with other people through singing is one of the best benefits. It’s also a great way for people who are interested in getting more into music to become involved, regardless of skill levels.”
“We have people with choir experience and we have people who haven’t sung their entire lives. Just getting to bond with other people through singing is one of the best benefits” – Kristian Solomon
Moe Elsawi, a student in the Software Development program, found the Sheritones at the club fair. After speaking with the students at the booth and learning it was beginner friendly he decided to join. “I just wanted to try something out of the box,” says Elsawi, who describes his only singing experience as strictly in the shower. He describes the experience of singing with the group as a form of meditation. “I just go home relaxed afterwards,” he says. “It just soothes my mind.”
While the Sheritones open their doors to beginners, some members have more experience. One of those members is Angelique Flores, who formally started singing when she was six and started teaching vocals when she was 16. “I’ve been into music throughout my entire life, and I realized in my post-secondary career I would start doing something that’s not music, and it was completely abnormal for me,” she explains. Flores knew she wanted to reconnect with her musical side, so she browsed through Sheridan’s clubs and found the Sheritones. “At first I was like ‘Oh man, a collegiate a cappella group, that sounds so intimidating,’ so I kind of waited a couple weeks before I joined in,” she says. Eventually, a friend convinced her to join, and she’s been attending rehearsals ever since.
“I’ve been into music throughout my entire life, and I realized in my post-secondary career I would start doing something that’s not music, and it was completely abnormal for me” – Angelique Flores
Regardless of skill, outside commitments, and stress, the Sheritones club is a haven for these students to gather and relax through the familiar comfort of music. The club meets Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in room G102 at Trafalgar Campus, and a supplementary meeting time of Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in G101. Check out the Sheritones in action with this video from Journalism students Natalia Camarena and Stefan Lee and the Sheritones webpage.
Pictured at top of page: The Sheritones at a dress rehearsal at Trafalgar Campus
Written by: Jasmine Anthony, a Sheridan Journalism student.