Move over, ‘Glee;’ Divisi is the real deal

Jack Hunter

As the melodic sounds of joyful singing filled the air last week, students gathered around the EMU amphitheater to watch the all-female a cappella group Divisi during one of their bi-monthly Friday afternoon performances.

Divisi, one of few all-women’s collegiate a cappella groups, will compete in this year’s International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella quarterfinals at the Hult Center at 7 p.m. Saturday.

When the group was founded in 2001, it was originally called “Eight Ladies and a Beau Tie.” After traveling to the quarterfinals in Berkeley, Calif., to support the University men’s a cappella group, On the Rocks, the group decided to get rid of the “Beau Tie” and become Divisi, the University’s premiere women’s a cappella ensemble.

Johanna Vinson, who is majoring in religious studies and art history, has been a part of Divisi for two years.

“We are one of only a few all-female a cappella groups in the nation, and that in itself is unique to Divisi. We also have a pretty unique sound. It’s very mature and pleasant — we’ve always been really lucky to have a full sound,” Vinson said.

Although Divisi seems relaxed and casual in its performances at the amphitheater, its members strive to perfect their sound and choreography for the quarterfinals.

“Performing at the amphitheater is just a great way for us to show everybody what we have been up to, and it’s always good performance practice and a fun way for friends and family to come and show their support,” Vinson said.

In contrast to the mixed crowd of cheering friends and family on campus, the quarterfinals audience will be filled with a cappella fans and more knowledgeable onlookers.

“This is one of the biggest quarterfinals that Eugene has ever had, and the competition is fierce this year. There are eight a cappella groups from universities throughout the Northwest competing to go to the finals in New York,” Vinson said.

Sophomore Kate Taylor, a music major, joined Divisi this year and said she has learned a lot already.

“Being in Divisi has helped me expand my style of singing and be aware of the people around me and how we can create one musical sound together,” Taylor said.

After becoming a fan of Divisi during her high school years, Taylor finally joined to continue her passion for singing.

“It’s just an inspiring group of women to be a part of,” she said.

Divisi’s vivacious performances outside the EMU draw in students from all over campus, and they give the group a chance to work out the kinks in their performance.

“At the EMU, if you mess up it’s just funny and you can laugh it off. We are allowed to be silly and not always worry about absolute perfection,” Vinson said.

Although their performances at the amphitheater are a time for the group to let loose, Divisi has spent the year perfecting their performance and are excited to show off their best at the quarterfinals.

“I hope that we can perform with all of the energy and time that we put into it and give the best performance that we possibly can,” Taylor said.

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