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A Cappella Group Starts at Otterbein

Story by Emmy Wells (from Otterbein360.com)

Ottertuned is not just another choir on campus. The 25-member group sings current pop music, contains beat-boxers and above all — is an entirely a cappella.

Other than Six in the City, which is an a cappella choir of six girls, Otterbein has never had an a cappella group. Last year, junior communication studies major, Tim Andrews, and his friend Jameelah Robinson decided that needed to change.

Since Robinson is interning in D.C. this semester, Andrews teamed up with sophomore music education major, Ryan Hutcherson, and senior music education major, Kathleen Pellington, to pursue the idea of an on-campus a cappella group.

“We wanted to become an official, independent student organization, not another choir,” Andrews said.

They did so by gaining approval through Student Affairs. Andrews is now the president of Ottertuned and Pellington and Hutcherson are the musical directors.

Inspiration for Ottertuned was drawn from several places. Andrews, Pellington and Hutcherson have each had past experience with a cappella and wanted to fill the absence of it at Otterbein. Furthermore, the movement of a cappella on college campuses is rising, and Ottertuned hopes to bring that movement to campus.

“We not only want to bring awareness to our group, but also to the importance of a cappella music itself,” Pellington said.

Ottertuned will perform for the first time on Sunday, December 1 at 6 p.m. at the Westerville Old Bag of Nails, 24 N. State St. Among some of the songs to hear during the show are Beyonce’s “Halo,” “Domino” by Jessie J, a mash-up of Les Miserables’ “I Dreamed a Dream” and Coldplay’s “Fix You” and “Treasure” by Bruno Mars.

Helping keep the beat throughout every song are group members James Wallis and Austin Miller, Ottertuned’s beat boxers. Wallis, a senior communication studies major, both beat boxes and sings tenor for the group. Miller, a junior music major, strictly beat boxes.

“I got sick of listening to the same songs on the radio, and so I was listening to more of the background noises in it, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I bet I can make those noises’,” Wallis said.

Wallis and Miller are both self-taught beat-boxers and were asked to join Ottertuned due to their sought-after talents.

Ottertuned is comprised of an array of singers, varying in major and experience with a cappella singing. “You don’t have to specialize in music to be great at it,” Hutcherson said. “I think that’s the important thing.”

Andrews, Pellington and Hutcherson have many goals for Ottertuned. First and foremost, they want to make themselves known on campus. They also want to focus on community outreach, such as teaching a cappella to high school students and eventually enter national a cappella competition.

“Music is something that brings people together, and we want to share that,” Pellington said.