A group of 21 women, ranging from backgrounds in music, military, medical and real estate to name a few, gather every Monday to fine-tune and perfect their craft: a cappella.
A Cappella Unlimited, an all women’s a cappella group and a chapter of the worldwide organization Sweet Adelines International, recently qualified for the Sweet Adelines Harmony Classic Competition which will be held in September 2019, where the group will compete against other groups from around the world.
But A Cappella Unlimited is more than just a competitive group. From its formation around seven years ago, the goal has always been musical education, giving a voice to women in Central Texas to exercise their passion to sing.
“Students typically do not have a place to sing once academic life is over and some want to challenge themselves beyond community or church choirs,” said Katy Dane, director of the group. “This group is a way for women to come together and work on a product that is bigger than themselves.”
For Melissa Moody, a member of the group and San Marcos resident, A Cappella Unlimited gave her a home for her voice and a way to grow as a musician. A member since 2013, Moody said the group was a way for her to connect with her city and support her community with a passion she loves.
Despite being an all women’s a cappella chapter, diversity is prominent through a pool of vocal ranges, backgrounds and ages ranging from 23 to 75.
With pride in music and the expectation to grow as a group, the goal is same across the board. Sandy Belvin, an original member of the group, said the founders spent a year outlying goals for its future.
“It truly is about the education,” Belvin said. “We welcome new singers to come every week and audition to see if this is a good fit for them. We want to draw other singers in and if you have the will to improve and grow, we will be here for you.”
But the road ahead is a long one for A Cappella Unlimited. The post-celebratory tone from their recent qualification victory is followed by rehearsals for upcoming community events and the international competition in 2019.
The women are often caught smiling between songs, guiding each other to improve. A serious but friendly tone engulfs the atmosphere of the Texas State University music building, where the team rehearses.
“I did not perform competitively during my time in school, but I always knew I wanted to find a group I could connect with,” said Christy Cooper, member of A Cappella Unlimited. “I’ve been challenged but I can hear improvements from my voice and I can now sing in different styles.”
The group invites women from all backgrounds and vocal ranges to attend a rehearsal, which is held every Monday at the Texas State music building. The group will be taking a break during July but will kick off again in August.
In the near future, A Cappella Unlimited will be performing July 7 at a charity event at the Wimberley Community Center, and welcomes all residents of Hays County to learn more about the niche community that is a cappella.
“Our goal is to be competitive, yes, but ultimately we open our doors to the community as part of our mission,” Belvin said. “This chorus is unique because I am always challenged and prepared to learn and be a better musician.”