It's 5:30 p.m. on windy Tuesday evening, and 13 shivering college students shuffle into the little white room on the second floor of the campus music building. Their chatter grows quiet as they find their seats in the shape of a half circle that fills the room.
It's finals week, but the Spartan Dischords have a concert this weekend, so exams and papers are set aside for a few hours to make time for practicing.
The Dischords is an all-male student acapella group at Michigan State University. Their group performs using just their voices, no background music, and no instruments. Keaton Ware is a member and believes that the Dischords are unique from other student acapella groups.
"We are a mix of comedy and acapella," Ware said. "We like to call it 'a blend of harmony and humor.'”
Member Brendan LaRose sits down at the piano and begins playing warm ups for the group. Their voices move up and down the musical scale. They sound flawlessly in sync, but LaRose stops occasionally to recommend changes and fix mistakes.
After warm ups, it's time to practice for their concert. This jolly group of singing students will take the stage at the Hannah Community Center (819 Abbot Road, East Lansing) this Friday night, December 8, to perform an assortment of holiday and contemporary classics. Their event, "Keg-Nog," starts at 7 p.m. and will feature both musical and stand up comedy performances.
As the wind blows furiously outside, Tyler Ekizian leads the group in a practice performance of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Ezikia sings the words while the rest of the group provides the music using their own voices. His voice fills the room and the lyrics bounce beautifully off of the white walls.
LaRose continues to provide feedback on each of the 13 voices and their team as a whole.
"You have a really good sound, you just need to sing out and be confident," LaRose said. "Otherwise you guys sound really good."
Each member of the group has a special part to play in each song. Sam Bloch beatboxes while Jake Rummel makes a high "dim, dum" sound and David Mainero sings in harmony with the soloist. Each member plays an equally essential part in carrying out a perfect performance that wows the audience.
The concert on Friday night will feature an opening acapella group from Grand Valley State University. The Dischords hold annual concerts but also perform for a variety of events, including birthdays and weddings.
Mike Lundquist remained seated during practice with a scratchy voice, but he listened to the rehearsal and provided feedback on what he heard. He hopes that his voice is healed by Friday night, but in the meantime, he wants everyone to know how amazing the concert will be.
"It's unlike any other collegiate music show that you've been to," Lundquist said. "We bring a whole new aspect to acapella."