Collaborating to save musicians: WF students organize virtual vocal invitational


Music students at William Floyd High School are putting together a virtual music invitational in May as part of a fundraiser to support musicians in need of assistance. The student-musicians haven’t been able to come together for a live performance in over a year.

Both the male and female performing a cappella singing groups, the Acabellas and Soundsations, organized the invitational with a date set for Saturday, May 22, including five other high schools and a handful of college music students in an effort to “keep the music alive.”

The Acabellas are made up of about 25 students, 11 of which are seniors, and the Soundsations are made up of about 15, with about six seniors. They will be singing a mash-up of “1950” by King Princess and “Can’t Take My Eyes off You” by Frankie Valli. The arrangement was written by Acabella student Emilia Brandimarte
Other participating high schools include Patchogue-Medford, Hauppauge, Centereach, Connetquot and Elwood. The groups, of varying genres, styles and voices, will collaborate and perform together, as well as take part in educational clinics.

“This is the very first time we ever hosted an invitational of any sort,” Lauren Andersen said, particularly excited to host it virtually. “Not being able to perform has been really difficult.”

Last year, the group was able to participate in an in-person invitational in Centereach just before the lockdown. But since then, they have not done any performances, though they have been able to meet more regularly via Zoom.

“Before COVID, we met about once a week, after school. But something that came out of this was meeting more with more time to be together,” said Brianna Start, Acabellas’ president. “We’re not just rehearsing. We just talk and people really need that right now.”

Though the public will not be able to participate in the invitational or the clinics, students will compile the videos of the performances for ultimate viewing via YouTube. The idea of invitationals, the students explained, is not to be a competition but rather a compilation of talents while providing a platform to meet likeminded students.

“It’s a showcase,” Brandimarte, Acabellas’ vice president, added.
Additionally, according to Lauren Andersen, co-publicist, Acabellas, the performance will feature senior spotlights. Matthew Kolongowski, leader, Soundsations, said his group is excited to participate.

As partof a fundraiser for the Music Health Alliance (based out of Nashville), an organization that provides health care and COVID-19 relief assistance for musicians who are having a hard time right now, the students have been selling T-shirts and sweatshirts.

To purchase a T-shirt or donate to the cause visit: https://www.customink.com/fundraising/suffolk-county-virtual-vocal-invitational-2021.


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