July 19, 2024

Club Week: VOLT introduces co-ed a cappella to campus

In the first feature of TNJN’s Club Week, assistant arts and culture editor Taylor Owens profiles VOLT, the first co-ed a cappella group on UT’s campus.

VOLT prepares for an upcoming performance. //Photo by Taylor Owens

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Walk by room G025 of the Natalie Haslam Music Building on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and you’ll see a group of 13 students arranging music, perfecting choreography and singing music from a variety of genres. They come together to create music for VOLT, UT’s first co-ed a cappella group.

Senior at UT, McKinley Merritt, serves as President and Music Director for the group. She created VOLT this semester because she saw a need for a co-ed a cappella group at the university. She released general information about the group in June and audition information in August.

Unlike the other two a cappella groups on campus, ReVOLution and VOLume, VOLT does not require its members to be in a choral ensemble to be a part of their group.

“When you’re in a choral ensemble, it’s a huge commitment,” Merritt said. “Not having that specific commitment has made our options a lot wider and we had more of a sea of people to pick from.”

Freshman Jared Sanchez performs a solo in the song "Chains" by Nick Jonas. //Photo by Taylor Owens
Freshman Jared Sanchez performs the song “Chains” by Nick Jonas. //Photo by Taylor Owens

Freshman VOLT member Jared Sanchez was among those who made it to the audition.

“I was terrified because I was new to the school and it was the first thing that really caught my attention,” Sanchez said “I was really interested in joining.”

Sanchez and the other VOLT members said they discovered their love of music at a young age.

“I’ve been singing since the third grade and I started off because my teacher had connections to the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and we got to sing with them,” sophomore VOLT member Amber Hale said. “Ever since then I’ve been doing choral music, but this is my first time doing more pop songs.”

Because VOLT is student lead, they have the opportunity to take creative control of the process, including arranging the music and selecting the songs they want to perform.

“We’re trying to cover a big spectrum of music in the world and get a good variety,” Merritt said. “There’s so much good music in this world so it seems silly to me to focus all our time on the music that everyone does right now.”

So far, VOLT has used their time together to find their unique voice and to learn more about each other as a group.

“We actually do really value the community aspect of music,” senior VOLT member Brandon Cartagena said. “We like being friends with each other. We like connecting with other people through music.”

VOLT will be opening for Belmont a cappella group, the Beltones, at their fall concert on Nov. 14 at Belmont University and will perform at UT on a date to be determined at the end of the semester.

For more information about VOLT, visit their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Featured Image by Taylor Owens

Edited by Jessica Carr

Arts and culture editor, Taylor Owens, recognized her passion for writing at a young age. As an avid talk show fan, Owens found journalism to be the perfect way to combine her love for interviewing and writing. She is now a sophomore at the University of Tennessee majoring in journalism and electronic media. When she isn’t writing for the Tennessee Journalist, Owens is most likely catching up on the latest reality television show.

3 thoughts on “Club Week: VOLT introduces co-ed a cappella to campus

  1. Both groups mentioned in the article, reVOLution and VOLume are student-led groups who also control their own creative process. They, as well as UT Singers, are directly affiliated with the UT School of Music. Also, UT Singers, the oldest choral group at the university, also does not require membership in another choral ensemble. Volt is not affiliated with the School of Music.

  2. UT Singers is actually an ensemble created by UT’s School of Music. The groups that were mentioned in the article are student-run groups that aren’t affiliated directly with the School of Music.

  3. VOLT is the second co-ed acapella group from the University. UT singers is the first co-ed acapella group and oldest vocal group at UT.

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