It's not too late to sign-up, and Will Thompson '14 has some last-minute advice:
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I didn’t even know a cappella existed before I came to college. So when my freshman hall-mates urged me to go to the A Cappella showcase fall of my freshman year, I had no idea what to expect. But as the Gentlemen took the stage and stole the show with their artistic skill and humor, I knew immediately that I wanted to sing a cappella at William and Mary- and I knew I wanted to do so with the Gentlemen.
I had sung a bit before (church choir for two years when I was in elementary school and a lead role in the musical my senior year of high school), but never had I participated in any singing group that was student-run. I remember looking down at my shoes during my whole audition- nerves I guess- and for my solo in callbacks I forgot all the words to Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me”, so I improvised the lyrics, and somehow, it worked! What made me make the most out what could have been a pretty embarrassing experience were the words of encouragement I received from the Gentlemen viewing my audition. To this day, I am proud to say that this sense of encouragement in the group has not gone away, even though all the Gentlemen in that callback room have graduated since.
Now, as I start the final semester at W&M, I realize that auditioning for the Gentlemen was the best decision I made here. What make this group unique are its rich history, fun traditions, and fantastic people- who are some of the closest friends I have ever had. So my last-minute advice to those who are auditioning would be the following: have fun. Cliché as it sounds, it really works. And you can bet the Gentlemen will be there cheering you on!
If you're planning on auditioning, Jonah Fishel '16 has some helpful thoughts:
The first thing I remember thinking when I stepped into the audition room is: "I am not a singer".
In my mind, the men seated before me were the singers. I was an impostor, placed on trial before these well-dressed but ruffled singers. My head crammed with doubt, I warbled tunelessly through warm-ups and exercises I was certain were meant to trick me. I remember sweating in strange places and remarking on it under my breath. I didn't think they had heard me, but I was terrified they had. I forgot all my words, mispronounced lyrics, and even convinced myself I was unintentionally rude to the director. In general, I was a hot, steaming mess. Iprepared for the worst.
Obviously, all of this was completely unfounded, and just plain wrong. As I began to emerge from my nervous shell, I quickly realized that the group of men before me were not scary in the least. In fact, they were only men when appropriate. They cracked jokes, but not ever at my expense - I made a few of my own, and a some Gentlemen even forced out pity laughs. I felt validated.
As the audition went on, I felt more and more like part of the group. Each and every member made a conscious effort to be inclusive and supportive, not only of me, but of each other, too. By the end, as we all sang together without even worrying about really sounding good, I knew I had made my decision. Of all the groups I auditioned for, the Gentlemen made the biggest effort to make me feel at home. And almost two years later, that hasn't stopped.