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5 questions with student and a capella singer Katie Marlowe
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An a cappella concert featuring Southern Harmony and Compulsive Lyres
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Glenn Auditorium, Clegg Fine Arts Building, Young Harris College
How much: Free
More info: 706-379-5182

True, this space often is dedicated to raucous guitarists or foot-tapping Appalachian-style musical groups. But this week we’re deviating from the traditional path.

Meet Katie Marlowe, a Clermont native who is a junior musical theater major at Young Harris College in Young Harris. Marlowe will be performing as part of a fairly uncommon performance on Friday night: She will be part of an a cappella performance at the college, sung by members of two all-volunteer ensembles.

Southern Harmony is a 12-voice female a cappella group, while the Compulsive Lyres is the corresponding 12-voice male ensemble. The students will perform their own arrangements of popular tunes, and they will be directed by Jeff Bauman, associate professor of music and director of choral and vocal activities at the college.

Southern Harmony will sing "I Will Survive," "Let It Be," "Fields of Gold," "Morning Train" and "Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now." The Compulsive Lyres will perform "Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)," "I’ll Be There," "Hallelujah," "Change in My Life" and "I Believe in Miracles." Then, the groups will combine to sing selections including James Taylor’s "Lonesome Road," Billy Joel’s "And So It Goes" and The Eagles’ "Seven Bridges Road."

We talked with Marlowe, a graduate of North Hall High School, about the art of singing a cappella and what it takes to be in a volunteer chorus such as this.

Question: Can you tell us a little bit about the concert?

Answer: We have two a cappella groups here — a girls group, Southern Harmony, and the guys, Compulsive Lyres. And what we’re doing, we each have our specific sets for each group, and I think there’s four or five numbers of guys and girls mixed together.

It’s a volunteer group; you don’t have to audition to get in. I don’t know how we do it every semester; we have to find time to rehearse.

Q: Is this concert an annual tradition?

A: It’s kind of a new thing ... We go to high schools and perform, or we open for special events here at the college. Since we work so hard, Mr. Bauman, he decided to put together a concert so we can showcase what we’ve done for the semester.

Q: Does your musical theater training as part of your major translate into any of the songs when you’re performing on stage?

A: It’s mostly about the music and being, just through the whole concert, being on pitch and everything. We have emotions throughout the songs; we incorporate those, but we don’t do a whole lot of movement and all that. There’s one song where we have a couple things that we do, but it’s more about the voices, more about the a cappella group, not a show choir.

We get emotionally invested in the songs, but we don’t do any movements or anything like that.

Q: The name for the concert is great; is that because it’s not often that we get to hear a cappella music?

A: Usually for our choir concerts we have stuff with piano or the organ. But this is just a complete a cappella concert, so that’s why it’s Acapalooza.

Q: So, do you feel this is a pretty unique event?

A: Unless you go to competitions or specific a cappella concerts, it’s not very common around here. I was here the semester we started — it was my freshman year here when we started Southern Harmony. ... We’re relatively new groups.