It’s natural to think of a music group with instruments attached, but CSU’s a cappella group, the RAMblings, use only their natural talent to create a full musical experience.
Beginning in 2000, the RAMblings are the only non-traditional a cappella group on campus, but are not associated with the Department of Music.
A cappella is a musical style that requires no instruments and instead, singers create the background music to the lyrics with their own voices. Beatboxing is also common in a cappella singing.
Last year there were 19 members, but senior English major and RAMblings music director JD Jacob decided that a smaller, 13-member group was more beneficial for the sound and style.
“A smaller group is much more dependent on each individual member to function,” Jacob said. “The group has been moving toward an amplified sound. The 13 person group is much easier to mic, and the sound is less muddy and more expressive,” he said.
Around 30 students auditioned this semester, but only four of those singers were added to the group. In comparison, it’s slightly easier to be accepted to the University of Chicago.
During their rehearsals, the RAMblings practice new music while also auditioning for solos within the group. During one rehearsal, junior communications major Nathan Harr awaited the group’s decision on whether he would get a solo for Hot Chelle Rae’s song, “Tonight Tonight.”
“There’s so many opportunities for solos, but it’s nerve-racking. Everyone in this group are really good singers, so it’s easier to sing in front of people you don’t know,” Harr said.
Alec Walsh, a junior music major, also auditioned for a solo. He’s been a member of the group since the fall of 2011 and is president of the group this year.
“It’s a positive environment. We love singing for people and we have a good time. It’s about having fun just as much as it’s about singing,” Walsh said.
Walsh also said that the group participates in singing competitions. Last year they got third place as a group and first place in beatboxing at the Mile High Vocal Jam.
Group member Eric Shrumm explained that they perform popular music to connect with the student body.
Their set list for RAM-A-Cappella includes songs from Christina Perri, FUN and Cee Lo Green. The RAMblings will be opening for award winning a cappella group FACE in the LSC Theater on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The event costs $3 for students and $5 for the general public.
Although the group is not signed, the RAMblings have one album available for sale at their events. They recorded their music through a local studio, Parker Recording.
“They were a pleasure to work with. All of them are obviously very talented, but we really had a blast putting the album together. In order to get a better level of quality, we focus on one person at a time for their part. Eighteen people were on the CD and every one of them was recorded at a different time,” said Steve Parker, owner of Parker Recording.
Parker expressed that he would like to work with the RAMblings again and that any student organization from CSU is welcome to record with him.