Muses ready to start on a high note


Credit: Arden Knapp

Following the departure of a number of key members last year, the WHS all-female a capella group, the Muses, are prepared for a fresh start. “[To prepare new members includes] a lot of going back to the basics and not just working on ensembles. [A lot of] just working on harmonizing and blending and that sort of thing,” Kiernan said.

Madeline Maurer and Emily Chafe

After saying goodbye to several key members last year, WHS’ all-female a cappella group, the Muses, had a challenge on their hands. But the group wasn’t going to let it slow them down. This was an opportunity to start fresh.

A large number of Muses graduated, but many new singers have joined the group. This brought the challenge of showing the newcomers the ropes. However, according to senior Co-Director Clara Hurney, the 2018-2019 Muses are ready. In fact, Hurney believes that with the change, fans of the group can look forward to a more upbeat and full sound.

“We have a bunch of songs we’re thinking about doing, and we have a couple things in the works,” Hurney said. “We haven’t really finalized our set list. We’re really looking to do more upbeat songs this year that are fuller than what we’ve done in the past.”

Junior Co-Director Emma Kiernan is also very optimistic, with lots of confidence in the group’s talents and the year to come.

“We have a lot of strong voices,” Kiernan said. “Sometimes we’ve had people who don’t project very well, and we’ve kind of had an issue with being quiet… that [was] issue with the Muses over the past couple of years. I think [this year] we have a lot of people who can project better and can push out better sound.”

Of course, having so many new singers has its challenges. The Muses welcomed some members with no prior experience in a cappella, which raised concerns about how to prepare them and introduce them to the group. But according to Kiernan, the talent of the new members eased the integration process.

“[To prepare new members includes] a lot of going back to the basics and not just working on ensembles,” Kiernan said. “[A lot of it was] just working on harmonizing and blending and that sort of thing.”

New members will also have to learn their traditional material. Despite this difficulty, Hurney and Kiernan, as well as junior Co-Director Arden Knapp, will take this as an opportunity to help keep the group organized.

“Such a big portion of the group is brand-new people, [so] we really get to put in place rules and have people take it seriously,” Hurney said.

While many students auditioned for these spots, only nine new singers got to be a part of the group this year. But luckily for students that did not make the cut, there are other opportunities to get involved. Individuals interested in helping the Muses can help them arrange music. Given that it can take up to two hours to arrange just 15 seconds of music, the Muses are always open to an extra set of hands.

“We usually post on Facebook,” Knapp said. “[We’ll] pick some songs that [students] think we should do, and if [anyone] wants to help arrange, then that’s great.”