A Capella Group Starts on a High Note

Here at Northwood, we are all about talent, excellence, and most importantly, togetherness. Whether it’s on the ice, the classroom, or even on stage, students love to create fun opportunities and events to do on the weekends. One activity that seems to be increasing in popularity is the a cappella group, which is led by head of school Mr. Maher. About once per week, he opens up his home to these students’ musical talent.


Lexi Hooper ’20 singing in the Flinner Auditorium during the 2016-17 school year.

A cappella “is an Italian phrase which means ‘in the style of the chapel.’ It was originally used to refer to music that was sung in a chapel or small worship space without accompanying instruments, as opposed to a large church where vocal music was usually accompanied by an organ,” according to www.study.com instructor Sharon Rhinesmith. “The term has since come to mean any music sung without accompaniment,” Rhinesmith continued, “whether sacred (religious) or secular (non-religious). A cappella music can be performed by a large choir, a small group, or as a solo.”

Nicole (Nikki) Kendrick, class of ‘18,  is one of eight singers, and the oldest in the a cappella group. She is considered the “team captain” amongst her peers, but Mr. Maher and his girlfriend Diane run the show. The other seven singers include Lexi Hooper ‘20, Jasmine Valenzuela ‘21, Addie and Angie Castillo (both ‘21), Courtney Fairchild ‘20, Quincy Pell ‘19, and Isaac Newcomb ‘19.

Kendrick described the ensemble as “a singing group that meets once a week at Mr. Maher’s house to rehearse songs, specifically Christmas songs to sing in the near future.” In between their rehearsals, Nikki and her classmates enjoy a nice dinner prepared by Mr. Maher. Nikki then added, “Personally, I think it’s a lot of fun because it is a more laid back group. Unlike the Northwood music classes, we are not practicing for a grade. Therefore none of us really feels the same amount of pressure as the classes. Also, the people in the group make it fun. There is not one rehearsal where we’re are not laughing.”

The group is looking forward to their first public performance. “Our first performance will be at the Christmas formal,” said Kendrick. “Even though we have been working hard on one song so far this year, we will be performing a Christmas song and saving the main one for when we feel more comfortable performing it.”

Jasmine Valenzuela, class of ‘21, is a young singer who is not afraid to show off her voice. She says that the group is really fun to work with and everyone gets along really well. “We start off with usually Addie or Angie teaching us some cool vocal warmups and then we start working on our main song. Our song that we are doing is called “Can I be Him,” by James Arthur, and we’ve been working on it for quite some time, so we can have it perfected when it’s time to perform it. I think it’s a fun experience because I’ve always loved to sing and this is a great way to sing and to let out my inner performer, which I think is so cool.”


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