CJ Performing Arts Students in Spotlight

Members of CJ’s pop a cappella choirs spent the weekend perfecting their craft and showcasing their skills at the fourth annual Kettering A Cappella Festival, held Nov. 17-18.

Performing arts students participating in Vega and Age V, CJ’s two pop a cappella groups, joined more than 30 other schools from Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan for one of the nation’s largest events of its kind at host Fairmont High School.

The two-day festival included educational workshops and an optional competition, the winner of which earned the right to open a Saturday night concert headlined by the a cappella group ‘Delilah’ of NBC’s The Sing-Off. The all-female octet along with professional arranger, producer and coach from the TV show Christopher Diaz (pictured with Vega above) were on-hand all weekend to share their expertise with attendees.

“These events give students exposure to industry professionals who they work with directly through clinics, give them a chance to mingle with other students much like themselves, and give them performing experience in front of people other than the usual concert crowds,” said Joe Whatley, director of choirs at CJ.

Vega entered the optional preliminary competition and took first place by a wide margin, winning the opportunity to perform two songs on stage in front of a sold out crowd of roughly 800 at the open of the festival’s marquee event (watch a live recording below). The 2012-13 group is comprised of sophomores Cassidy Aughe, Addi Helms, David Marshall and Daniel Jackson as well as seniors Maddie Brown, Caitlin Pearn and Andre’ Tomlinson.

“Our vocalists, much like sports players, always love getting outside feedback on ways to improve and love to showcase what they can do against other students who do the same things,” Whatley said. “Competing is also a great motivator to push students to another level and it leaves the students wanting to learn what the next step is.”

Competition from both outside and within the school building has helped the exclusive group get better each year since its inception in 2010-11, Whatley said. Students who make it through try-outs spend six hours per week practicing as a group in rehearsals on top of the individual work each member is expected to put in at home.

“CJ students know the standards of Vega before they even get in the group. This is evident in that each new Vega group has almost picked up where the group before them left off, with the result being each group gets better and better,” Whatley said.

This fall, Vega produced and released its first studio album, titled "Momentum," which features nine tracks from artist such as B.O.B, Taylor Swift, Natasha Bedingfield, Adele, Kelly Clarkson and other pop stars. Fans can pick up a copy of the CD by returning an order form and $10 payment to the performing arts department.

The next opportunity to see both CJ pop a cappella groups Vega and Age V live is Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Christmas Concert.