University a cappella groups compete to raise sexual assault awareness


Courtesy of Pat Marsek

No Strings Attached A Capella (pictured) is one of nine groups performing at Acatoberfest. Kirsten Myles (center) performed with No Strings Attached at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella in 2014.

By Yi Zhang

The It’s On Us campaign, along with “The Hunting Ground” documentary and ROK Mobile, launched the a cappella contest to bring awareness to sexual assault in the theme of Lady Gaga’s song and music video.

“By calling on all a cappella groups at colleges, It’s On Us is engaging new allies in the arts community and empowering more young people to speak out about sexual assault,” said Kristin Avery, campaign manager for It’s On Us.

The contest is inviting collegiate a cappella groups to sing Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens To You” and upload a video recording of their performance.

“We encourage the a cappella groups to sing their own versions. And they can upload their submissions in the following four weeks until the deadline, which is on Feb. 26,” Avery said. “After four weeks we will open the voting to the public on March 1.”

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The winning group will have a chance to engage in a “video master class” and discussion with Diane Warren, the co-writer of the song “Till It Happens To You,” and record producer David Foster. The winners will also win a Skype session with a cappella group

“It’s the first time that we are doing campaign works for people who are involved in music, so we are all very excited about it,” Avery said. “We are looking for the uniqueness of what they do and of course the quality of the song and originality.”

Girls Next Door, an all-female a cappella group at the University founded in 1971, participated in the contest with other a cappella groups on

“It was a really cool and rewarding experience for everyone,” Rachel Collins, the business manager of Girls Next Door, said. “Because the writer is so famous, it would be a great honor that (we could actually work) with her.”

According to the Hunting Ground’s website, the competition will be judged by Warren, Foster, LL Cool J, Pentatonix, Catherine Hardwicke, Trudy Green, Bonnie Greenberg and Cynthia Germanotta, Lady Gaga’s

“One of the girls from It’s On Us contacted our group, and we arranged with other groups to sing the song together, ” said Johanna Scott, president of Girls Next Door. “It’s really rare to sing with other groups together, which is a life changing, great experience for me.”

Girls Next Door sang with fellow University a cappella groups The Xtension Chords, the ILL Harmonic and the Rip Chords.

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