Both groups in the club, the Octaves and Royal Harmony, spend each semester learning a variety of songs to perform at their concert at the end of the semester. The groups also perform at various events on and off campus. Over the years, dozens of Royals have become part of the Men and Women for Octaves family.
After 10 years of countless rehearsals, performances, bonding and service activities, the club has gained a reputation for being a dedicated, talented group that brings uplifting entertainment to many events!
Dr. Michael Friedman is the moderator of the club, as well as a member of the Octaves, and has been with the club since its start. We reached out to Dr. Friedman to learn more about the club and how it has changed over the past 10 years.
How did a cappella get started at Scranton?
A cappella began at Scranton during the 2009-10 academic year as a result of the actions of two sophomores, Natalie Picciano and Sarah Neitz, who formed the group in an effort to provide an additional opportunity for students to sing together. Both students were members of the University Singers, but they also wanted an opportunity to belong to a student-run group that would perform secular, contemporary popular music rather than choral music. They originally conceived the group as a co-ed organization, but the initial interest meeting drew so many talented people, particularly women, that Natalie and Sarah decided to form two groups, the co-ed Octaves and the all-female group Royal Harmony. It took about a semester go through the Student Government process to form the club, and then the groups actually started meeting and learning songs in the spring of 2010.
How has Men and Women for Octaves changed over the past 10 years?
I would say that one way that MW48 has changed over the years is that we have developed a reputation for excellence that has prompted groups both on- and off-campus to invite us to perform. When we first got started, we weren’t well-known, so we actively had to seek out opportunities to sing, but in the past few years, we have been invited to participate in on-campus events like the Scholarship Brunch, Take Back the Night, and the Urban Beats Showcase, as well as off-campus sites like the Waverly Country Club, PNC Field and P.O.S.H. (for the Children’s Advocacy Center’s annual fundraiser, Cocktails by Moonlight).
Why do you think students enjoy a cappella?
Students tell me that one of the things they like best about belonging to an a cappella group is that it’s like being a member of a second family, made up of students from lots of different majors, different age groups, and different ethnic backgrounds, all drawn together for the purpose of making music. There is something very special about the feeling one gets when one helps to create a single sound out of numerous different voices.
Men and Women for Octaves will have their spring concert on Saturday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the Moskovitz Theater. There will be a special alumni performance in honor of the 10-year anniversary!