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The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Niles West A Cappella Program Finds a New Harmony

Vaughn Holleran
The a cappella program at the Friday Flyover

The Niles West Music Department has formed two a cappella teams this year, while in previous years there were three: Echo Effect, High Fidelity and Tonal Eclipse. This year, the groups will be split into what’s comparable to ‘varsity’ and ‘junior varsity’ teams. However, these are not the official team titles and they will be renamed as the year goes on. As the a cappella program starts this year from scratch, there are a lot of changes that the program will have to go through. New choir director Justin De La Cruz has taken over and is creating a new plan for this year.

Cruz, a Niles North alumni, is glad to be back in District 219 and working with the Niles West choir and a cappella teams. He’s ready to push his students to the greatest of their abilities as they approach competition season in the spring.

“I’m just really excited to get to know all these students. As much as they are musicians, I want to collaborate with them as people and build community. A basketball reference: chemistry off the court translates to chemistry on the court. I think that you’re not going to grow without discomfort or challenge and I think we’ve come to a mutual understanding of that,” Cruz said.

Having invested several years of hard work into High Fidelity, it’s been difficult for senior Vaughn Holleran to leave what’s been known to her since her freshman year. Despite this change, she is hopeful for this year and is excited to see what is to come.

“[High Fidelity] was an all-treble group, there was no bass because we didn’t have lower voices. Now that we’re a combined group and we’re bigger, we can do so much more. We can do so many new arrangements and we have so many more little things that we can add to our music to make it sound like ‘oh my gosh’- so that’s a bonus. It’s still kind of bittersweet because HiFi [High Fidelity] was my group and that’s the group I picked,” Holleran said.

A more inclusive a cappella program will bring new traditions to these two teams. Echo Effect, High Fidelity and Tonal Eclipse had their very clear distinctions, and all returning members of those teams will come together to rebuild a new family.

“Our past three groups held a lot of unique traits that were all important, we were a large community with very obvious differences splitting us up into categories. Although I believe the aspects of all three were very important and, excitingly, brought a lot to the table for Niles West a cappella, I find that those lines are gone. It feels like we can all spend more time together as a tighter community,” senior CJ Soriano said.

In the past, Echo Effect, High Fidelity and Tonal Eclipse have competed against each other, but now the new ‘junior varsity’ team won’t be competing, only ‘varsity’ will.

“Though there’s a large amount of what one could see as drastic change, it’s nice to not be competing against one another, but with one another. I will say, it did feel a little sad to walk away from what we knew, but this is a reset with endless possibilities and potential,” Soriano said. 

The rebranded a cappella program is in full effect and they’re wasting no time. For only being the beginning of the year, eager students have already stepped up to the plate.

“Mr. De La Cruz, other students and I have all talked about leadership positions for a cappella. I believe that the use of [a] historian, choreographer, vice president and president is a very solid base for a group to run efficiently. It has barely been half a month and I have already seen such an influx of student initiative, from people wanting to arrange pieces for the group, engage in social media and an overall sense of community building in this new generation of a cappella. This makes me extremely happy and I can only wish for such things to happen later down the line,” senior Thomas Jamero said.

Recently, the a cappella program performed its first gig on live television at the Friday Flyover. Be sure to keep up with them on their Instagram account, and best of luck to them as they approach this fresh year!

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  • S

    shan fidaiSep 11, 2023 at 3:41 PM


  • J

    Jordyn BSep 7, 2023 at 11:13 AM

    As a former hifi member myself, I was shocked when I found out those groups were scrapped but I’m excited to see what these new groups can do!