Life imitates art. Or rather, for Miscellania, life just might imitate the hit 2012 movie “Pitch Perfect.” The group, Bowdoin’s only exclusively female a cappella group, will appear on the Boston television show “Sing That Thing!” tonight at 8 p.m.
“Ultimately, it is a regional a cappella TV show on public television, so I think it was just the right mixture of, ‘this is a really cool thing that we are really grateful to be a part of and we are going to take it seriously and try really hard’ but also ‘this is still super goofy and fun,’” said Julianna Burke ’18, the group’s music director.
The competition consists of 18 groups divided into three categories: high school, collegiate and adult. Over the course of six episodes, a panel of three judges will choose two groups from each category to compete in the grand finale.
Miscellania is the only all-female collegiate group on the show. In the other divisions, one adult and two high school groups were all female.
“People tend to underestimate all-female groups because [they] tend to be a little quieter and the groups don’t have the low voices grounding [their] songs,” said Wendy Dong ’18, one of the co-leaders of Miscellania. “It was a really powerful experience to feel like we were going on this show to try to prove people wrong, to show that female groups are just as competitive or musical as a co-ed or an all-male a cappella group.”
“It was a really positive experience and I think it’s something that more Bowdoin a cappella groups or chamber choir people should be aware of,” said Burke.
For the show, the group had to condense its musical and performance abilities into a two-minute program. Burke noted how members pulled together to create a more polished product than it would normally. In order to remain competitive, Miscellania added choreography, which was led in part by Ariana Smith ’21.
Smith was one of two soloists, along with Hannah Jorgensen ’20.
The filming took place on February 10 and 11 at the WGBH studio in Boston. The Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC) helped to subsidize the cost of travel and lodging.
Many members of the group commented on the difference between live and televised performance.
“We were really in and out, and we had to do multiple takes to get certain angles,” said Smith.
“It was also in front of a live audience,” said Dong. “You could acquire tickets in advance to come see us. So some of our friends and family members were in the audience. It was nice to have the support.”
Burke noted the friendliness of one judge in particular, Annette Philip, who is an associate professor of music at Berklee College of Music. Philip is also a member of the all-female music group Women of the World, which performs global music.
“I have this specific memory of after we performed … [of] her getting out of her judge’s seat and just talking to us off camera and being so encouraging to us as musicians and as people,” said Burke. “She is just a really regal presence.”
Members of the group appreciate their status as an all-female group.
“There is something dope about how at the end, when you strip it down, it’s twelve women’s voices,” said Burke. “That’s all it is.”
The episode of “Sing That Thing!” featuring Miscellania can be streamed for free tomorrow on the show’s website. The show will also be available on Maine’s Public Broadcasting Network starting on Saturday, May 5. It will air for seven consecutive Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.