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'Barenaked Voices' presents a pitch perfect benefit performance

By Caitlin Ryan | Emory Report | April 7, 2014

The Emory Concert Choir will continue an Emory tradition now in its 11th year when it joins forces with Emory's vibrant a cappella community for "Barenaked Voices," a night of vocal performances benefiting Active Minds at Emory and Emory Helpline, Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

This highly-anticipated annual celebration of music at Emory, hosted by Eric Nelson, director of choral studies, features performances by the Emory Concert Choir and Emory's six student-led a cappella groups: AHANA A Cappella, known for its focus on R&B music; Aural Pleasure, Emory's oldest co-ed a cappella group; ChaiTunes, Emory's Jewish a cappella group, Dooley Noted, a service-oriented group; The Gathering, Emory's only all-female group; and No Strings Attached, Emory's all-male a cappella group.

For college senior and Concert Choir president Benjamin Leiner, Barenaked Voices represents an important chance for the faculty-led Concert Choir and the student-run a cappella groups to showcase their unique strengths on one stage: "Barenaked Voices celebrates the talent and diversity of the Emory community. Collaborating together and singing for one another allows the a cappella groups and Concert Choir to learn from one another and to improve their artistry. Through their own individual styles and cultural focuses, each group contributes to the cultural vitality of the University," Leiner says.

Barenaked Voices is the highlight of the year for many in the vocal music community at Emory because of the rare collaboration between the groups in a spectacular hundred-voice grand finale. College sophomore Olivia Grabowsky, a member of Dooley Noted, says "Barenaked Voices showcases not only the talents of each group individually but also the end-result of all of Emory's groups working together. This piece brings together the entire a cappella community, letting each member meet and interact with people from other groups and, of course, giving a great show to the audience.  It's a lot fun for both parties."   

The grand finale remains a secret among the singers until the evening of the performance, but Grabowsky hints that the medley of songs by a contemporary pop-icon "is going to be…flawless." 

The fundraiser brings together the Emory community in support of the services provided by the Counseling Center and always attracts a large, diverse and excitable crowd. As Leiner puts it, "Barenaked Voices is the closest Emory gets to having a football team — the audience is absolutely raucous, which makes performing at the event all the more enjoyable."

Tickets are $5 and all proceeds benefit two of the Emory University Student Counseling Center's integral programs: Active Minds at Emory, a student-run mental health advocacy group and Emory Helpline, a telephone counseling and referral service providing anonymous peer counseling and confidential support to members of the Emory Community.

For more information, visit www.arts.emory.edu or call the Emory Arts box office at 404-727-5050.