On a quiet Sunday afternoon in the Humanities building, I walked into a room full of energy as the members of Under A-Rest all looked excited and hard at work, getting ready for their spring show on Saturday, April 14 at Music Hall.
Under A-Rest is University of Wisconsin’s newest co-ed a cappella music group and they are almost ready for their final big performance of the semester. Since a large portion of the group is graduating, they decided to do something special to honor the seniors.
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This year, the group is saying goodbye to many voices who have been a part of it since it began in the fall of 2014. Originally an all-men’s a capella group, they decided to expand and sought out a larger pool of talent.
“The spring semester of my freshman year there were auditions that they [Under A-Rest] were turning into a co-ed group, so I tried out and it worked out,” Senior Lindsey Kermgard said. “My freshman year we had to do a lot of work to get people to even know who we are and now we have an incredible amount of support and everything just seems to slide into place easier.”
The upcoming show is titled “Where Are They Now?” bringing light to the graduation of seven of the group’s 17 current members.
These seniors were a part of Under A-Rest when the name was still becoming familiar around campus and they’re excited to show everyone how far they’ve come as a group.
Video clips will be played throughout the show that highlight seniors and their future plans to keep the audience engaged between songs.
“Our Music Director Riley Luettgen made a mash-up of all the senior audition songs called the ‘Senior Song’ and I cannot wait to perform it,” Kermgard said.
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There will be many moments during this spring show that emphasize what good has come out of the new a cappella group in just a few short years.
This performance will be bittersweet for those parting, yet they are still grateful for the time they spent performing with Under A-Rest.
“I’m going to miss all of the seniors,” current Under A-Rest Director of Finance Alex Collins said. “There’s going to a completely new dynamic next fall and the legacy is now going to be what we make of it.”
When speaking to Collins about the excitement behind the upcoming show, he mentioned looking forward to the new songs they have produced as well as the new sound system they recently secured.
Johnathon Benson, freshman and new member of Under A-Rest, is looking forward to the sound system as well.
“It’s the first time that the group has had our own mics for each person and we’re going to have a really good sound,” Benson said.
Benson is also looking forward to debuting their new arrangement of Portugal. The Man’s “Feel it Still.”
They are given the freedom to choose which tracks they’d like to perform based off of their own personal interests.
“I really like the arrangement because it’s a bunch of fun to perform. I really get into the song and I want everyone to see it,” Benson said.
I was able to hear a sneak peek of some of the group’s set and “Feel it Still’s” upbeat and fun nature makes you want to get up and dance just as much as, if not more than, the original. Under A-Rest has a good vibe to their rehearsals that I’m sure will carry forward through their performance on Saturday night.
Take time for heartwarming moments in their set as well. New member and soloist Ashleigh Kent will perform “Chandelier,” which evokes powerful emotion and moves you with its versatile mix of speeds.
The seniors will be missed, but the newer members of the group seem to be doing their due diligence to make sure the legacy of Under A-Rest continues for many years to come.
“If we see the success that we’ve been seeing as an emerging group in the past couple of years, then hopefully we’ll be able to make something soon. For now, we’re excited to put our first tangible product out there,” Collins said.
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If you’d like to hear these songs and more, you should attend Under A-Rest’s spring show “Where Are They Now.” Expect a high-energy performance from the rising a capella group, where you will also find out more about where the seniors are headed as well as the future of Under A-Rest.
Tickets are on sale now, priced at $10 for students and $15 for real adults.