Dooley Noted At The International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella

Dooley Noted At The International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella

I am so proud to be a part of such a close-knit, talented a cappella group.

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This past weekend, my a cappella group, Dooley Noted, had the opportunity to compete at the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella. ICCA is hosted by an organization called Varsity Vocals and takes place around the globe. We were competing at the South Quarterfinal in Athens, Georgia along with nine other groups from the area. The top two of the quarterfinal would go on to the South semifinal.

On Saturday morning, we drove down to Athens, about an hour and a half outside of Atlanta. Denny, Joseph, and Caitlin rode in my car. The night before, in my excitement for the trip, I made a playlist exactly 1 hour and 28 minutes long. It included all my favorites including some songs I knew we could all harmonize to perfection. Of course, we couldn't drive that far so early in the day without stopping for coffee so we swung by Dunkin on the way. A couple iced coffees later and we were headed off to Athens.

Prior to this trip, I had never been to Athens. I had only heard of it because some friends from high school went to the University of Georgia but otherwise I knew almost nothing about it. I was expecting a small college town with a few shopping streets and yummy local restaurants. And I was right. I knew during my college search that I wanted to go to school in a big city but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the charm of a college town. I loved Athens and the hustle and bustle of a big state school's campus.

Once we arrived, we immediately found a brunch spot: Five Bar. Knowing this would be the only time we would get to eat for some time, we went a little crazy with the avocado toast and eggs (for us vegetarians) and chicken and waffles for the rest. We were all starving so brunch went pretty quickly and we had some time to kill. Each of the group members headed off in separate directions to run some errands, find a coffee shop, or like Caitlin and I browse the local clothing boutiques.

At 1.30 pm, all the a cappella groups competing in ICCA met in Morton Theatre for an informational meeting. Morton Theatre is a small historic venue in downtown Athens. It was sold out for that evening's concert. It was so exciting to see all the groups in one space. The a cappella community is really unique in that although it is a competition, every group is welcoming and friendly with one another. We all wanted each other to have successful performances because we know how much work it takes to get to this stage.

The ladies of Dooley Noted A CappellaGrace Bellman

At this meeting, the performance order was decided. Ameya, Dooley Noted's president, went up to randomly select a number. He picked five. And with that, both our position in the show and soundcheck time were decided. Soundcheck was simple. We ran through our set and worked with the sound technician, Lee, to fix any kinks in the monitors or house. Anyone who has ever performed some sort of music before knows that sound is everything. You could be singing the most amazing set but that wouldn't matter if the audience and judges couldn't hear you.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the hotel resting up and consuming gallons of water and tea. I did my makeup, hair, and put on my formal cobalt (DN's signature attire). And just like that, it was time for us to perform. It was so special to sing with people I care so much about to a sold out theater. The stage lights blocked out the view of the audience but I could feel their eyes locked on our every move. Singing and dancing alongside the people who I had worked so hard with made every late-night rehearsal and sore throat worth it. Regardless of our placement in the competition, I felt like DN accomplished so much.

Sylvia Ware, awarded outstanding soloist.Grace Bellman

Not many people can say that they performed at the ICCA Quarterfinals. But thanks to the hard work of Sylvia (Music Director) and Ameya (President), Dooley Noted can say that we have. I feel so honored to perform in such a close-knit, talented group. It is such a privilege. This weekend reminded me of why I originally joined an a cappella group and how much it has shaped my college experience.

Dooley Noted, I love you all. We did it. Time to get ready for the next concert!

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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It's Time For You High Schoolers To Invest Your Time Into Your Careers

It may seem too early to specialize, but there will be a point where it's too late.

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If you're in high school, odds are you're approached by friends, family and more family about your plans after. For many of us, this can mean college. From convincing a college to admit you to convincing them to foot your entire tuition bill, you need to be marketable.

You should start with writing out your resume. Write it specifically oriented towards your career path. My resume, for example, is music themed. If you are anything like younger me, you might have a couple things that fit. I had marching band, concert band, honor band. But the majority might be things you signed up for to round yourself out.

A candidate too well rounded is directionless.

My participation in science club was fun, I will admit. But it didn't do much for me. It didn't teach me leadership, nor cooperation nor did it help with my career path.

High school is a lot more limited a time to both express and market yourself than you might think. Before I knew it, I was sitting in my junior year without much to my musical name.

If you have an extra curricular that you participate in because you enjoy it, you don't have to drop it. If you have developed as a person or as a leader, then it might even be something you can include in your list.

I just want to caution people from getting into the same situation I was in. I spent the first three years essentially of high school to feel out different areas, and this was too much time.

Productive uses of your after school time should be things you talk about when you say what sets you apart from other students in your field. And yes, this means you have to utilize tools outside of your school offerings most of the time.

When I go to apply for college and for musical internships, I plan on listing my participation in Atlanta CV (professional drum corps in DCA), high school marching band and marching band leadership, MAYWE (Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, an auditioned honor band), GYSO (Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra), AYWS (Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony), Youth Bands of Atlanta, county honor band, jazz band, twice state applicant for Governor's Honors Program Music, JanFest music at UGA, the Academy of Science, Research and Medicine (Biotechnology certification and science fair), math bowl and HOSA - Future Health Professionals.

When I go to apply for college and for musical internships, I plan on listing the most relevant activities as well as the ones I've chosen to regardless stick with. Relevant activities in regard to my music major include honor ensembles and marching activities.

My most applicable activities for music include marching bands. I am a contracted baritone marcher of Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps as well as trombone marcher and two year Trombone/Baritone Section Leader for the Pride of Paulding marching band. These show relevancy because these organizations provide rapport as well as the marching activity in itself shows another level of musical capability.

My honor ensembles are relevant likewise because they show higher musical skill and provide some legitimacy to your path. I have been involved in Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, county honor band, jazz band and I was also a Two-Time State Applicant to the Governor's Honors Program.

I plan to also be with the Symphony of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, Youth Bands of Atlanta and JanFest at UGA. Auditions are coming up for each of these and I hope to be considered for membership. These would round out my music application by showing versatility (via orchestra along with wind ensembles) and more time dedication. Both universities and employers value this level of hard work.

Of course, even I on my soapbox have some activities I've stuck with despite it not being directly related to music. Despite this, you can make them relevant by touting your experience with it. I've been an officer and competitor for our chapter of HOSA - Future Health Professionals despite not going into healthcare and I've been certified in Biotechnology through my school The Academy of Science, Research and Medicine despite not going into STEM.

My experiences in biotechnology and healthcare have provided me a round academic experience, more high rigor classes and leadership opportunities. I was co-treasurer of our HOSA chapter and my Magnet school gave me access to more AP classes and the biotechnology classes. Anything can be useful, but the extent is determined by its relevancy.

The vast majority of my activities are both outside of the school and directly related to my career path. Activities such as these can make any student automatically more competitive than an equally academically-standing student.

Finding these activities involve a combination of involving teachers and mentors in your career field as well as self research. Luckily for me, I was able to fairly quickly compile a list of Honor Bands to audition for due to the abundance in the area. My directors also named a few. Most areas should have something at least tangentially-related to your specialization.

Some opportunities require knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. For example, my involvement in one of my most valuable activity assets, Atlanta CV, was a result of knowing a guy that knew a guy that knew about an opening for the right instrument halfway through spring training.

What I hope readers gain from my story is to start early. I've found myself struggling to meet the market's standards in the last year of high school immediately before applying for college. Specializing would have been more effective a tad bit longer term and I hope others take my heed.

Moving on from high school can be an intimidating process. It's hard to find the right college, and even harder to convince them they want you. Harder still is convincing them to pay for your education. But all this can be made easier by specializing and becoming marketable.

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