Something Major A Capella (SMAC) is working online to try to create a virtual concert in place of their canceled concert due to the coronavirus pandemic.
SMAC is a student a capella singing group at the University of New Mexico, consisting of both music and non-music majors.
“Singing is a way of life… Singing keeps up sane,” President Chris Mather said.
SMAC is facing a difficult technology gap and has not been able to rehearse since the transition to an online university.
“Trying to sing over Zoom just really isn’t feasible,” Vice President Debbie Brown said.
Music Director Ally Truby said virtual concert plans are still tentative. If possible, members will send in individual clips of them singing and Truby will combine them into a larger compilation.
“[We] all want to find a way to keep music and singing going,” Truby said. “We can still sing together through technology.”
Mather said that most of the group is actually not made up of music majors, as it has been in the past.
“The main focus that we want to have with the group is that we use it as an escape from more academic uses of music,” Mather said. “I joined the group because I didn’t want to be a music major but I didn’t want to lose music.”
Mather said the group will be appreciative to sing together in person once it is safe again.
“We have a very diverse group of people but when we come to sing together it’s like we can all celebrate what we have in common, which is singing,” Brown said. “It represents who we are very well.”
SMAC also has an upcoming election that will be done in an online environment.
Typically, SMAC would perform originally arranged music at various gigs and concerts throughout the year. Mather said he already has some arranged music ready for next semester.
The group has online weekly or biweekly meetings with as many people as possible over Zoom. With 22 members in the club, at least half of these members have been able to get in contact at the same time, according to Brown.
“The hardest part of this has been not being able to interact with each other, not just on a musical level but as friends,” Truby said.
Brown said a lot of members in SMAC were living in the dorms on campus and had to move out to various cities or states, making communication more difficult.
“There have been moments where it’s just been like ‘oh, we should reach out to this person to check on them and see if they need anything,’” Brown said.
These online meetings are mostly facilitated by Brown. Mather recently transitioned into working full-time at his job and is still trying to balance school and the club.
“Even though this is a difficult time, I think the way that I’ve seen members reaching out to one another has been really awesome,” Brown said.
Mather said that SMAC will most likely not lose members because of this online setting but rather lose a few members because of graduation, which is normal.
“I think that what [the pandemic] is going to do is make us all, like with most things nowadays, grateful for what we have and not want to waste it,” Mather said. “We lost almost an entire semester of this group.”
Megan Gleason is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @fabflutist2716